The thought of a vehicle being able to drive without ever having to stop to refuel may sound like a fantasy, but this innovative infrastructure concept could make it a reality. A number of companies are working on a way to wirelessly charge electric vehicles or EVs as they drive down a road, vastly increasing the range of these vehicles.
In Korea, this kind of technology is already being used for public buses, drastically reducing emissions and letting the buses run without the need to stop and charge. The concept is working wonderfully as wireless chargers embedded beneath the asphalt continuously charge the electric buses.
The wireless road charging system is similar to wireless phone chargers, but on a much larger scale. The system will use power lines connected to coils under the surface of the road, this will transmit electricity through the air in the form of an electromagnetic field where it will be picked up by a receiver coil in the vehicle. The wireless charger would activate when a sensor picks up that an EV with an equipped receiver coil is approaching. This system would be much more efficient than having the wireless charging system working 24/7.
This image is a fantastic visual that shows how the charging lanes would work.
Image source: http://bit.ly/1WLXvwC‘
The U.K. is already taking the concept extremely seriously. With over 50,000 EV’s on their road today, up from 3,500 in 2013, there is a serious need for this kind of infrastructure overhaul. Testing has already began, focused on numerous different approaches to this charging technology, to identify which versions will work and can be manufactured. Right now, Highways England is conducting off-road trials but are excited about the potential the technology has shown.
With over $700 million in funding being put aside by the UK government to help advance the electric car market, as well as investigate these wireless road chargers and their manufacturing process, the initiative is making fantastic progress.
This is a perfect example of new innovative infrastructure projects the US needs to be investigating. We recently released an article about the US’s need to invest into new innovative infrastructure projects throughout the country. You can read more on that here: (https://mfgtalkradio.com/innovative-infrastructure-time-to-upgrade/).
Jobs, new technology, upgraded infrastructure, all of this could come out of a project of this size and magnitude. Not only will road workers need to lay the infrastructure underneath the road, but it can be done in phases which allow for the project to be done incrementally reducing lengthy road closures.
The lack of charging stations throughout the US is holding consumers back from purchasing these incredible EV’s. A charging lane could have the potential to drastically increase demand from these ultra low emission vehicles.
EV’s potential can go far beyond personal transportation. From public transportation, all the way to freight delivery, all could benefit from ‘fuel-less’ travel. Fossil fuels won’t be around indefinitely. It may be time to start taking an innovative approach to American road’s to prepare for the inevitable future of emission free transportation.