Electric Roads Power Electric Cars

Electric roads are being tested in a number of countries world-wide. Roadway powered electric vehicles collect any form of potential energy from the road surface to supply electricity to locomotive motors and other equipment within the vehicle.

The city of Tel Aviv has partnered with ElectRoad to embed a strip of road with its smart road technology, in order to test how the technology stands up to vehicle traffic and the environment over time. The process involves carving grooves into the asphalt and inserting a chain of copper loops. The chain is in turn connected to a power converter at the side of the road. Electric cars used in the trial have contacts fitted onto their undercarriage that receive electricity when driving over the smart road.

Sweden has also inaugurated two test electric roads designed to power heavy transport vehicles in the cities of Sandviken and Arlanda. The two systems differ in how electric power is transferred to the vehicles. The Sandviken test involves a current collector on the roof of the truck cab feeding the current down to a hybrid electric motor in the truck. In Arlanda the technology involves an electric rail in the roadway charging the vehicle during its trip. Currently, both tests are being conducted on a closed road, but the plan is that the technology will be demonstrated in actual traffic next year.

“Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions. This is one way of developing environmentally smart transports in the existing road network. It could be a good supplement to today’s road and rail network,” stated Lena Erixon, Director General of Trafikverket (The Swedish Transport Administration).