By Luke Dormehl
While plenty of attention is focused on the growing popularity of electric cars, far too little is paid to the roads the cars themselves are actually driving on. Sure, we get to cover an innovative new surface material every now and then but for the most part, roads have not changed a whole lot in the past few decades.
A new collaboration between the Israeli government and a local company is aiming to change that, however. Working to address the electric car challenge of too few charging stations, the country is beginning work on a pilot scheme to install technology that will allow electric buses to charge while driving — by way of smart technology embedded in the road.
As part of the project, the Israeli startup Electroad received $120,000 from the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety to test its technology on a half-mile stretch of road in Tel Aviv, opening next year. Provided all goes to plan, 11 miles of the smart road will then be installed between the city of Eilat and the nearby Ramon International Airport.
“We are currently testing the durability of our under-the-road infrastructure,” Electroad CEO Oren Ezer told Digital Trends, pointing out that there is heavy traffic on this stretch of road and making sure it can stand up to the constant barrage of vehicles is therefore of utmost importance.
“This is the first technology to offer cost effective and safe wireless on-the-go charging for electric vehicles,” Ezer continued. “It is exciting since it deals with the obstacles in the massive shift towards public electric transportation and thus has the potential to create a global transportation and energy revolution.”
Electroad’s technology works using electromagnets, with copper plates on the road which interact with similar copper plates under buses as they travel over them, thereby helping power the buses along.
While the first examples of this technology will be installed in Israel, though Ezer said it will not be limited to that country in the long run. “We are talking with France, Germany, Sweden, the U.S., Spain and few others,” he said. “The solution is generating great interest, and we are being approached by multiple players in the global public transport sector.”