One of the biggest complaints with electric vehicles today is range anxiety, or the lack of being able to charge your vehicle on a long trip.
But automakers are working hard in resolving that issue, or at least finding alternative ways to sustaining long distance travel for vehicles. The Volvo Group is focused on finding solutions for vehicles to operate on renewable energy and has teamed up with several associations on a research project that could prove beneficial.
With the support of the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo along with the Swedish Transport Administration, Vattenfall, several university, automakers, and suppliers, are looking for a way where power can be continuously supplied to a truck from an external source. To test this, the Swedish automaker has built a 400-meter long track at its testing facility and has begun testing a system that features two power lines built into the surface of the road.
With the two power rails/lines running the length of the road and a current collector located on a test truck, Volvo is testing a possible solution that would allow vehicles to be continuously supplied with power without having to carry large batteries. Essentially, the vehicle is equipped with a radio emitter that the road can detect. If an electric vehicle passes a road segment with the proper encrypted signal, then the road will energize the segments that sense the vehicle.
Currently the automaker is testing the project with a standard Volvo FH12 tractor with a diesel engine, but has no electric motor installed yet. But when the collector comes into contact with the power lines, 750 volts of direct current is delivered and routed to a water-cooled heating element that has a similar power requirement to an electrically-driven truck.
Unfortunately this type of technology is still a long ways off to becoming a reality, if it ever does. The cost involved along with the road construction and integration could be a financial headache. Regardless, the research is going to prove beneficial in finding ways of using renewable energies to keep electric vehicles charged on the go.
GALLERY: Electric Road Charging Technology
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