Scalextric-style roads will power electric vehicles during journeys under new £40 million proposalFri, 27/07/2018
Plans to tackle the challenge of charging electric vehicles on the go have been revealed by the Government, and it seems to have had a little inspiration from a children’s toy.
Tim Collins, The Daily Mail, reports:
Electric cars could soon be charged wirelessly as they drive on the roads, as part of a new £40 million ($53 million) Government proposal.
The scheme would see charging pads built into roads that are capable of transfering electricity to the underside of the vehicles, topping up their battery levels.
This is very similar to the way Scalextric toy cars work, with a metal contact on the underside of the vehicles siphoning power from the track.
The advantage of the wireless scheme in the proposal is that it does not require any physical contact between the car and the road surface.
This is not the first time the idea has been proposed, with various organisations around the world seeking to implement similar technology into road surfaces.
The proposal was made in a Department for Transport (DfT) strategy designed to promote zero emission vehicle technology.
The plans could see wireless charging points built at the roadside, at car parks, service stations and even under motorways and roads.
Government officials also want new homes and offices to be built with electric charge points, under the scheme.
Speaking to The Times, David Martell, of the electric car charging company Chargemaster, said: 'Wireless charging will make driving an electric vehicle as similar as possible to driving a petrol or diesel car but without frequent trips to the petrol station.'
Wireless charging works by a process called electromagnetic induction.
A pad on the ground has electricity passed through a coil of wire to generate a magnetic field.
This field transfers electricity to a receiver built into the underside of the car.
A number of companies already offer commercial options for wireless charging in all-electric vehicles, including BMW and a number of third parties based in the US.
Similar technology has also been trialled on the roads, with smartphone chipset manufacturer Qualcomm previewing its own efforts in the field in May 2017.
It has created a 300 foot (100 metre) stretch of road that charges electric vehicles as they travel along the stretch of tarmac, even at high speeds.
It works by linking a number of Qualcomm's 'Halo' wireless charging pads – designed to charge an electric car when it's parked – into a stretch of road.
Experts at the company have already suggested implementing the pads into sections of road at traffic lights and even in taxi ranks to charge cars when they're at a standstill.
However, the 2017 demonstration revealed the technology was adaptable and could be used for a moving vehicle as well.
Two Renault vans, converted to work in sync with inductive charging pads in the road surface, were driven on the short stretch of highway to show that it is capable of topping-up batteries in multiple moving vehicles at the same time.
A consistent 20 kilowatts of power was sent to each car during the demo, which is almost on a par with the 22 kilowatts provided by most public electric-car charging points dotted around the UK.
With a significant investment being proposed by the Government, critics question whether such funding comes at the right time, due the current poor state of the roads across the country.