Electric vehicles powered by roads, is this the future of cars in the city? The startup ElectRoad believes it is. It has created a charging technology for wireless electric cars, integrated in the ground.
At first sight, Tel Aviv is more like Silicon Valley than Detroit, the historic capital of the car. But it’s precisely its global expertise in high-tech that could finally put electric vehicles on the road to success. The start-up ElectRoad has just created the first stretch of road capable of charging electric cars from the ground itself. Thanks to this road of the future, electric cars will be able to drive and charge at the same time. That means no need for batteries nor charging stations. Another advantage: the process is also “zero emissions” and much cheaper than a conventional charge.
Its secret: a dynamic wireless power transfer system (DWPT), which shares energy between vehicles in the same network. The technology is similar to that of our induction hobs, or techniques already developed for charging wireless smartphones. Specifically, wireless energy strips, made from electromagnets and copper plates, are integrated into the roadways, while similar plates are installed on the chassis of vehicles. A strong magnetic field is created when the car passes on electronic components buried in the road. Two boxes fixed under the car, one at the front, the other at the back, recover this force and transform it into electricity.
This discovery solves all the problems of the electric car at a stroke: autonomy is no longer a worry for its driver, charging becomes easy. Is it the solution that will be adopted massively tomorrow? That’s impossible to know. For the moment, the innovation, partly financed by the European Union, should enable this stretch of road to be extended between Ramon airport and the city of Eilat. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has also mandated ElectRoad to install an electric bus line in Tel Aviv. The system should be tested soon.