A roadway to recharge electric cars while driving

Special metal plates in the asphalt could recharge car batteries with a wireless induction system.

The problem at hand

One of the problems related to electric cars is represented by a not yet sufficient diffusion, especially in extra-urban areas, of columns for fast vehicle charging through traditional cables. To overcome this problem, a team of researchers from Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York, is developing a special roadway capable of charging electric car batteries directly on the road and while driving

The solution to look forward to

The scientists, coordinated by Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering Khurram Afridi, are essentially proposing a vision of a future in which drivers will no longer be tied to individual charging stations for electric vehicles as they will be able to travel and simultaneously recharge the batteries of their cars.

That is, when a vehicle is about to run out of battery charge, move to the specialized lane and, after travelling for a few kilometres, the vehicle’s battery will be charged. The car will be identified, and, subsequently, the driver will be sent a payment invoice.

Read more on Electric cars: An electric car battery recharging in just 5 minutes. 

The system developed by the researchers includes a road lane dedicated exclusively to recharging, thanks to special metal plates incorporated into the asphalt. The plates are connected directly to a power line with a high-frequency inverter, a device capable of converting a direct current at the input into an alternating current at the output.

By creating alternating electric fields that attract and repel a pair of matching plates attached to the underside of electric cars, the metal plates in the roadway would be able to recharge the vehicle simply by walking over them.

How does it work?

The solution is very similar to charging some modern technological devices such as smartphones, tablets or smartwatches. It is a wireless charging technology that uses the principles of electricity transmission based on electromagnetic induction.

Furthermore, the wireless charging model for electric cars that the Cornell University team is developing does not require polluting materials and can operate at very high frequencies. The implementation of the project, of course, will require additional time and investigation.

In fact, the main problems that researchers are facing are related to costs and efficiency.

From this point of view, using higher frequencies, the team could power vehicles at a distance of 18 centimetres. However, the installation of numerous metal plates in the current infrastructure is certainly a costly operation.

In any case, the fact remains that such a system would significantly change the way of conceiving electric mobility.

This technology, in fact, would make it possible to alleviate the pressures regarding the adaptation of the network of recharging points, still insufficient to support the mass transition to electric mobility, in addition to the fact that it could be used in various other areas. For example, it could be used by autonomous forklifts to load themselves while they are at work inside the warehouses.

Here is some more work being done in the charging of electric cars.

Read here to know more: An electric car that does not need to be recharged

SIDI has been working closely with partners who are bringing about disruptive changes to make the future of travel an eco-friendly one.

We believe that these kinds of changes will pave the way for new companies who want to enter into the energy conscious market. They will lead in the future in bringing about significant changes.

Given the immense pressure, our current systems exert on the environment, we are in dire need of fast corrections in the way we operate to save the planet.

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