Posting in Design
Researchers at Stanford design an electric highway that charges plug-in cars as they move.
While the adoption of electric cars is generally considered an important step for green transportation, many drivers are wary to buy a vehicle that might run out of power before a trip’s end. To eradicate this range anxiety, a team at Stanford has designed a system that allows electric car owners to charge their vehicles as they drive.
The Stanford charging system uses magnetic fields to wirelessly power cars, sending electric currents through a series of coils placed on both the vehicle and the road. The design would mean major changes to highways, but researchers say this is the ultimate goal.
“Our vision is that you’ll be able to drive onto any highway and charge your car,” said one of the study’s authors, Shanhui Fan, in a press release. “Large-scale deployment would involve revamping the entire highway system and could even have applications beyond transportation.”
The proposed project is not the first to employ magnetic resonance coupling—a process that occurs when two objects, such as the coils, exchange energy through magnetic fields. WiTricity, a company created by researchers at MIT, and HaloIPT, a small British firm acquired by Qualcomm last year, have also made use of the technology to charge cars without plugging into a power source.
Unlike its competitors, however, the Stanford team added metal plates to the basic coil design, allowing for a larger transmission of power that ultimately allows cars and trucks to charge on the go.
For now, the project is still in its beginning stages. Although it has proven successful in reliable mathematical simulations, it still needs to be tested in the laboratory and under actual driving conditions. In the meantime, electric car owners will simply have to stick to shorter journeys.
Images: NRMA New Cars/Flickr (Top); Sven Beiker, CARS/Stanford University (Side)
More on wireless charging:
- For Qualcomm, a new wireless standard (with wheels)
- Two small steps toward eliminating range anxiety
- British race team fast tracks on-the-go electric charging
- Electric roadways would allow plug in cars to charge on the go
Feb 3, 2012
You have to wonder about anybody being promoted as "it has proven successful in reliable mathematical simulations".... what kind of "proof" and "success" are we talking about here? A better phrase: "mathematical simulations have been promising..."
Whilst efficiency for this type of charging is now around 85% there is still the serious problem of road wear. How often have you been diverted or delayed because of road repairs and what happens when the surface of the road is worn, or there is a need to repair what is under the road? Good idea but the infrastructure is a mess. With battery life improving and wtih recharge points where they are useful, this sort of mega structure will be worthless pretty quickly
What I always wonder about this is how efficient is it compared to a directly plugged in charging source. That determines how cost effective it is.
Imagine converting thousands of miles of road. Imagine the cost, cost which can go to other more pressing matters. I know that clean energy for transportation has a pretty priority, but this is just too extravagant. It's a nice thought experiment, and hey, who knows if we can get better shootoff technology. Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green) http://www.GreenJoyment.com
Several months ago, I thought about how we could fix the limitations of EV's. If only I could have patented this idea at the age of 15.
I tend to agree. A roadway system like this was tried decades ago at UC with DOE funding support. It worked briefly on a test track under ideal conditions, but failed miserably when applied to an asphalt roadway, in part due to weatherizing effects. Plus, the cost of installation and maintenance was exhorbitant. This is one of those dynamic technologies that sounds good in theory but falls far short of design goals when "the rubber meets the road." A more reasonable approach might be a fixed pad under an electric bus stop, where precise clearances can be maintained for proper inductive coupling
Other gee whiz idea right up there with hydrogen vehicles and powering the transportation world with algae. The article has no validity without cost estimates. Remember where we are living, a country with massive debt and a shrinking middle class. Poorly written articles like this serve no useful purpose and just illustrate the delusions that a lot of folks labor under.