Commissioned by the Ministry of IenW, Decisio studied the cost-effectiveness of Electric Road Systems (ERS) in the Netherlands together with Sweco and EVConsult.
An overhead line above the right lane of our highways to allow trucks to drive electrically? Yes, it can be done, and it can also be cost-effective, as our research into the possibilities of an Electric Road Systems (ERS) network in the Netherlands shows. Trucks using ERS can get by with a significantly smaller battery. And that could be more attractive than a battery-electric solution. ERS appears to be a cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions by allowing freight transport to electrify faster. However, there are a number of conditions and uncertainties.
If cost-covering tariffs for the use of the ERS network are being charged, then a sufficiently large number of transporters may be interested in investing in ERS trucks. So instead of only battery-electric trucks (BEVs) and also instead of diesel or hydrogen trucks.
The kWh rate for using the ERS network competes with that of battery-electric trucks (BEVs) and diesel or hydrogen trucks. This may make investing in ERS trucks an attractive proposition for a large volume of carriers. This is true for medium-distance road transport (180-300 kilometers), and even more true for long-distance transport (more than 300 kilometers per day). For international ERS freight transport, the availability of an international ERS network is of course an important precondition. In addition, the study shows that ERS on a single corridor is not viable.
The major disadvantage of ERS is that it requires the immediate construction of a comprehensive network and will only be profitable if it is used in sufficient numbers. The main threat to the success of an ERS network is that batteries are rapidly increasing in range, decreasing in weight and becoming cheaper to purchase and recharge. As a result, ERS usage may become less than expected, making ERS unprofitable. These uncertainties do not make it an easy decision in this regard.
The report on the cost-effectiveness of ERS can be found here.