image courtesy: autocar.co.uk
When it comes to electric vehicles, one issue unites us all: range anxiety. This is directly related to the scarcity of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. But what if the EVs can be charged while they are in use? What if the roads could serve be the EV charging stations?
A group of Cornell University researchers led by Khurram Afridi propose that electric vehicles could be charged by the roads themselves while running.
Inductive charging technology is used in this process, not certainly an unknown concept for automakers. These are increasingly used in smartphones allowing them to be wirelessly charged in the vehicles.
The challenge is to apply the technology on roads to generate a large magnetic field to charge the vehicle, similar to wireless charging of a smartphone in a vehicle. This technology has been used before, as it was tested in California in the 1980s. However, alternating magnetic fields necessitate costly hardware that consumes more energy than it provides.
Cornwell’s researchers, on the other hand, developed the technology with the help of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Instead of magnetic fields, it employs high-frequency electrical fields.
If it turns out to be a feasible approach in future, it would allow wireless charging of vehicles with up to 18 centimetres of ground clearance. The road employs charging plates that can be embedded tens of feet apart and will transfer power to the vehicles whenever the EVs are driven on it.