Sweden is building a permanent electric road that charges your car as you drive. You just need to drive along the charging strip.
This is how it works:
Except during longer trips, you and I will probably use our home charger. Trucks, though, will find it handy for their longer hauls. And, for all of us, electric roads could minimize battery size and wasted time.
Still, even with its advantages, the proliferation of electric roads will depend on innovation systems at the firm and national levels.
We can look at an electric road as a part of a system.
While there are many explanations of innovative systems, I thought The Guardian’s focus on Thomas Edison was especially relevant. Talking about his success, the article said he had to do more than sell light bulbs. In addition to changing what people habitually did, the light bulb required an infrastructure composed of transmission lines, substations, and generators. From investors, it needed finance and, from government, new regulations.
Similarly, electric roads cannot evolve in isolation. They too need systemic cooperation for producing, developing, and applying knowledge. Vehicle design, consumer preferences, and government regulations need to change.
Probably also, we need an innovative country.
Our Bottom Line: Innovative Countries
Annually, the UN’s WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) identifies the world’s most innovative countries. Their 80 indicators include “measures on the political environment, education, infrastructure and knowledge creation.” More precisely, their metrics are scored under components called institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.
While Switzerland has been #1 for 12 years, the ranking of other countries has shifted. Still, you can see that Sweden consistently remained near the top. Also, we could say the UK, the US, and the Netherlands have been notably innovative:
Returning to where we began, we can eliminate range anxiety if we build the electric roads that require much more than concrete.
My sources and more: A good place to start, Euronews had the description of Sweden’s electric road building. From there, The Guardian’s story of system innovation was the ideal complement as was WIPO and the Global Innovation Index.