August 18, 2015
Electric cars are great to have and they can definitely save consumers a lot of money when it comes to fuel costs, but electric cars also don’t travel as far as their gas counterparts. Plus, electric cars come with the additional burden of having to find a charging station in order to get back to regular functionality. The U.K. has come up with a solution to this limitation, though, and is getting ready to test roads that can charge electric cars as they drive on them.
The project comes from Highways England in partnership with the U.K. government and will last over the course of 18 months. Throughout the trials, vehicles equipped with wireless technology will drive over roads with electric cables buried just underneath the surface. Using the power (magic, really) of electromagnetism, the goal is for these roads to generate electromagnetic fields that will be converted into electricity by a device in the electric cars.
In the full feasibility study conducted by Highways England and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), U.K. Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
“As technology develops, ultra low emission vehicles, including pure electric vehicles, plug in hybrids and fuel cell electric vehicles, will play an increasing role in the way we travel for leisure, to work and for businesses to get their goods to market. These vehicles are already on the market in significant numbers, and in the coming years will become a common sight in our towns and cities and on the strategic road network…The concept of wireless power transfer equipment installed under the road surface is seen as a potential opportunity to extend the charging infrastructure…”
Clean energy and our pursuit of it (in any and all aspects) has gained mass popularity in the past couple of years. Looking at this year’s ranking of the 50 Smartest Companies by the MIT Technology Review, Tesla came out at top – getting recognized for the innovative technologies it’s produced in the past year under Elon Musk (and not just for its signature electric car). The project in the U.K. isn’t the first of its kind to play around with clean energy and our roadways. Last year, the Netherlands created the first solar-powered road. And, in the United States, Solar Roadways gained momentum for its goal of transforming America’s roads, parking lots, and bike paths into essential sources of solar energy.
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