An Israeli start-up company called ElectRoad has won an opportunity to test its newly developed roads capable of charging an electric vehicle as it drives.
The technology works by using copper plates embedded in the asphalt, which are fed an electric current by inverters stationed on the side of the road. A similar copper plate embedded on the bottom of the vehicle then receives the charge and feeds power to the vehicle’s motor.
ElectRoad has developed the tech specifically for use with busses. Their electric bus will be equipped with a small back-up battery that will feed the electric motor when the bus isn’t driving over a charging road or when under acceleration, which requires more energy than the roads are able to produce. The tech recently passed its first round of testing, which netted the company a $120,000 investment and the opportunity to test it on a 1/2-mile route in Tel Aviv.
While this technology shows promise, ElectRoad still faces a number of challenges if they hope to make it widespread. It would be difficult to implement as it would require completely replacing large sections of road, which would of course be hard in busy cities where busses are most relied on. Battery technology is also getting better and becoming cheaper and may soon render a wireless recharging road nearly useless.
ElectRoad has so far only tested their wireless charging roads on a small 80-foot test route at its headquarters. It will put the technology to the test on a 1.2-mile route sometime in 2018 and if all goes to plan, the Israeli government plans on putting it to use. The first real-world implementation of the tech will be an 11-mile shuttle connecting the city of Eilat with the Ramon International Airport.