World’s first car-charging highway

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Last month saw the inauguration of eRoadArlanda in Sweden, the first road in the world that recharges electric vehicles as they drive. Two kilometers of electric rail were installed along a public road outside Stockholm; as electric cars or trucks drive energy is transferred to them via a special conductive arm fitted to the bottom of the vehicle. The initiative was developed by eRoadArlanda consortium and the Swedish Transport Administration.

Pretty neat, right? In fact a similar concept is being trialed in France. What’s really noteworthy here, though, is that charging rails are being placed on existing roads. That means that the eRoadArlanda points to a possible future for all roads. Now we’re talking!

Okay, you’re not about to start building e-roads. So what’s the broader lesson here? This innovation taps into an intriguing set of expectations that we’ve been tracking for years: that is, expectations that the digital culture of constant upgrades and improvements – apps, operating systems, everything – comes to the physical world of objects, including products and infrastructure. Those kinds of expectations are only pushed higher when consumers see Tesla pushing a software upgrade that unlocked greater battery range for Tesla owners stuck in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Take a look:

 

That’s the challenge hidden deep within this innovation: how can we make the physical world emulate, as closely as possible, the fluidity and adaptability of the online world? So take a moment to ask yourself: when it comes to your customers’ physical experience with you – your product, physical outlet, delivery service or something else – how can you offer an upgrade? Better yet, how can you start to build in the potential for continualupgrades, month on month and year on year?