Remember we are elated that electric highway is a reality, but at the same, disappointed as it is not we have imagined? You know. Overhead electric lines and pantograph-equipped vehicles are not quite what we have in mind of electrified roads, but the good news is, there’s hope for electric highways that are a whole lot less electric tram-ish. A collaboration between Israeli government and a U.S. company is working towards an alternative which will see wireless charging element being embedded into the roads and we all know what means: the future is almost here.
So why the need for charging on-the-go? Simple. Because battery life is single biggest stumbling block that prevents widespread adoption of electric vehicle and the fact that there are too few charging stations does not help either. Even if you have abundance of charging stations, there is the question of charging time which obviously takes longer than one need to top up traditional fuel. Having said that, it is obvious that charging as you move is the long term solution. And the responsibility of making it happen now lies on the shoulder of Israeli startup ElectRoad.
What’s going to happen is (in simple layman explanation), electromagnets, along with copper plates on the road, will be responsible for wirelessly transmitting electrical energy up to 24 cm away to juice similar copper plates installed under the electric vehicles. So, as the vehicles, such as an electric bus, moves over it, it gets the power. We are not sure if the power can be stored on the electric vehicles if such system were to be retrofitted on existing electric vehicles.
Our guess is, it probably can because in the video below, it did mention that the pilot electric bus will be able to stray from the electric road for a short distance, or up to 5 km, to be precise. So, I guess it should be capable of storing some energy in the event the vehicles need to change lane. What’s even more brilliant is, plan is already in placed to test a half-mile stretch of road in Tel Aviv which will open sometime next year. If all goes as planned, a 11-mile wireless charging road will be installed between Eilat and Ramon International Airport.
However, there are several questions about this proposed system and among the many questions most people have is probably the durability of this electric road. Well, that’s where the test road comes in and so, we shall know in time. In the event it does not stand up to the test, I am sure known issues picked up during the test can be ironed out to make it work. Anyways, if it works, the benefits can be tremendous. For examples, if a wireless charging road becomes a reality, it would meant that electric vehicles won’t have to put up with bulky batteries (it can carry less) and also, electric vehicle owners will not feel intimidated by charging time, or fear that the vehicle will run out of juice.
All these factors may serve to encourage the adoption of electric transportation and this in turn, may spur automakers to turn out more electric rides.