Sweden has just announced a proof-of-concept road that takes us one step closer to EV charging roads.
Electric vehicles are no longer just a concept of the future. Companies like Tesla and Fisker Inc. continue to work toward perfecting their models while also making them more accessible.
“Electric vehicles are a disruption,” Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker Inc., told us last year. “We want to disrupt further: the way you own, the way you get your vehicle, the way you drive. We want to be a part of that.”
Fisker’s goals are well aligned with public opinion, considering a survey conducted by Bosch shows that 62 percent of new car buyers believe they will own at least one fully electric vehicle within the next 10 years.
This is also quite reflective of the forecast that sales of electric vehicles will go from 1.1 million worldwide in 2017 to 11 million in 2025 and then 30 million in 2030.
Despite the proliferation of electric vehicles, there still remains hurdles that are in need of addressing.
The benefits of owning an electric vehicle ranges from energy efficiency to the reduction of emissions but one of the greatest pitfalls of electric vehicles is the upkeep of the batteries that power it.
Currently, electric vehicle charging renders between 200 to 240 miles of travel on a single charge. This hinders the distances one can travel in an electric vehicle by limiting them to following a route where electric vehicle charging stations are available.
Additionally, electric vehicle charging makes travel even more difficult considering it takes several hours for an electric vehicle to recharge fully.
Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Electric vehicles require a constant upkeep of their battery charge so it’s a timely move for massive companies like Walmart to include electric vehicle charging stations in their parking lots.
In partnership with Electrify America, Walmart will be installing an unspecified number of DC fast-charge stations at 100 stores across the U.S. This adds to the electric vehicle charging stations they’ve had at some West Coast stores since 2011. Their total is now over 300 stations.
Krogers, Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Lucky’s, and many others already offer level one to three electric vehicle charging stations, so there is a clear demand for it.
Why are mass merchandise retailers the ideal place to install these charging stations? Not only do people visit them often enough, but they are nearby most residential areas, have plenty of parking space for them, and most of them offer rewards and membership programs that could be easily integrated with charging access, benefits, and discounts.
Incorporating electric vehicle charging stations into parking lots at these large companies helps encourage people to invest in an electric vehicle by offering incentives for doing so.
Now, however, studies continue taking the possibilities for electric vehicle charging to newer levels by offering the possibility to charge an electric vehicle while on the road.
EV Charging Roads
The concept of EV charging roads isn’t new. We previously reported on the Stanford study that developed the first step toward achieving wireless recharge in electric vehicles. That study was based on work performed at MIT in 2007 in which magnetic resonance coupling was used to transfer electricity to a light bulb remotely.
“We still need to significantly increase the amount of electricity being transferred to charge electric cars, but we may not need to push the distance too much more,” said Shanhui Fan, Professor of Electrical Engineering at SU at the time of the Stanford study.
While work continues to achieve wireless charging, Sweden has recently announced its own approach to EV charging roads in what is being referred to as the world’s first stretch of electrified road.
This proof-of-concept road is a 1.2 mile stretch with a metal strip embedded in the road through which the electric vehicle would charge by way of a movable arm that would connect to it. This option is also considered the most economically sound, roughly 50 times less expensive than installing individual charging stations, to be exact.
Countries Working Toward EV Charging Roads
Currently, the only other country looking into EV charging roads is Israel, except their test road is actually wireless. In collaboration with Israeli startup ElectReon, the Israeli government plans to install a public bus route in Tel-Aviv that would use wireless technology. This road, however, would impact beyond the public transportation system.
“You only need to pave for the infrastructure one time, and that’s it. You can use it for all kinds of vehicles, so that’s a big advantage,” said Oren Ezer, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of ElectReon.
While still in its infancy, the technology for EV charging roads is going to usher in a new era for electric vehicles, making them a more plausible option for the average person looking to use it as an alternative for everyday commuting. Developing these roads could eliminate the greatest concern surrounding the battery life of electric vehicles.