World’s first car-charging highway


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?