Amsterdam June 22, 2021 – It is the dream of every EV owner; a road that charges your EV wirelessly while driving. The technology already exists, and the pilot projects are promising.
The Israeli company ElectReon is at the forefront of these developments around automatic (fast) charging roads. Copper coils are installed under the road’s surface. Additionally, computers are placed at the edge of the road to control the system. Magnetic induction makes it possible to wirelessly convert electricity to the electric powertrain of the car. However, cars that want to use this technology need a small number of adjustments, in order to work with the technology.
Most of the actual details are still unclear. For, example what the exact costs will be and if it will be possible to provide the EV with sufficient power. Until now, wireless charging via induction technology has not been very smooth. However. The trill projects are very promising.
Car manufacturer BMW supplied the charging highway in a very short period, also in the Netherlands. However, they quickly withdrew it from the market. With the arrival of the S-class, Mercedes also announced that it wanted to develop similar technology, but the company does not yet dare to introduce it to the market. The charging speed in particular is often disappointing. With an actual vehicle, the challenge is even bigger.
However, ElecReon does see a bright future. The company opened a 1.6-kilometer trail track on the Swedish island of Gotland in early 2021. This makes the ElecReon test track the largest road section to where the technology has been tested. A fully electrically powered truck has to prove that it could be charged thanks to the installations above and below the ground. This worked at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour on a 200-meter-long section of the smart road. The electric truck was supplied with power with an average of 70 kW charging capacity. ElecReon and the Swedish government were enthusiastic about the stability and found that snow and ice did not influence wireless charring.
Truck driver Emelie Gardell, drove during the test:
“I was surprised how calming and quiet it was to drive the electric truck, while it was driving and charging from the road. It had no further influence on my driving experience.” This year the test will be further extended to the entire 1.6 kilometers. Trafikverket, the Swedish equivalent of Rijkswaterstaat, wants to open a 30-kilometer-long route as soon as possible.
This year, the test will be further extended to the entire 1.6 kilometers. Trafikverket, the Swedish equivalent of Rijkswaterstaat, wants to open a 30 kilometer long route as soon as possible.
Testing in Italy and Israel
The first ElectReon pilot project took place in Tel Aviv, Israel. A 700-meter-long highway formed the test stage. Another trial will soon follow in the same city with a route with urban traffic, in which an electric bus will be used. ElectReon will also test this technology in Italy. This will happen this year on a 1-kilometer long section of the A35 toll road between Milan and Brescia. To realize this test, ElectReon will collaborate with more than ten Italian partners, including manufacturers Stellantis (Fiat, Peugeot, Opel) and Iveco (trucks). During the test, extra attention will also be paid to how electric drivers can pay for the electricity. For example, Brebemi, the company that operates the toll road, is closely involved.
Very promising research from Germany
An even larger project than the above pilot projects is the research of the German government. The German government invested more than 1.9 million euros in research into the new technology. During the investigation, ElectReon will collaborate with car manufacturer Volkswagen. This project called eCharge is led by the German highway research institute BASt. The focus here is also on exploring possibilities for the inductive charging of electric vehicles while driving.
Volkswagen will provide vehicles during the study and the University of Braunschweig is studying the implications for road infrastructure. The plans for the German test road are not yet completely clear. It is already certain that the road will be built near Cologne.
Enak Ferlemann, the German State Secretary for Transport and Digital Infrastructure sees a great future for this technology:
“This is already a reality with smartphones. Wireless charging while driving can not only greatly increase the range of electric cars, it also saves the driver a trip to a charging station.”
ElectReon believes that the technology can be implemented relatively quickly, especially because it uses the existing road infrastructure. The company also believes that the technology can also reduce the costs of electric driving. Ultimately, fewer battery cells would need to be installed in cars. This makes them cheaper and lighter and also offers more space for passengers, luggage, or cargo.
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