FUTUREWATCH: Electric Roads
Electrified roads is a futuristic approach for transferring energycreated on the road to batteries in car. Cars are always subjected todifferent things at different times of travel. They need to becomfortable, silent, expel less emissions, have good air conditioningand more.
As the world is moving towards electric cars and away from fossil fuels, the need for electric charge storage is higher. But electric energystorage is not inexpensive. There are costs involved to rechargeelectric energy once it is exhausted. The most important limitation iscarrying electricity storing batteries around. Given the heaviness ofsuch an arrangement, it’s not a feasible idea. And what happens when the electric car runs out of electricity? There are not many countries that have all gasoline stations equipped with electric vehicle chargingterminals. Even if they were present, charging electric vehicles is not a fill-and-go affair. It takes time to recharge the vehicle.
These things could limit the development of electric car technology. Researchers at the Energy Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University have created a new concept called electrifiedroads. Charging pads are tucked beneath the asphalt of roads. Connectedto electrical grids, these pads wirelessly transfer electricity of thegrid to the car. Pads will have interactive capabilities. By using asignaling system, other pads will be alerted about an approachingvehicle.
Such charging pads can deliver 5-kilowatt charge from shortdistances of about ten inches. Manufacturers have already startedproduction of such charging pads. In Seoul, South Korea, the KoreaAdvanced Institute of Science and Technology has started testing electric roads using vehicles moving in slow speeds.
An important challenge to overcome for charging pads is to besuper-quick in delivering electric induction. This is because cars willonly make contact on charging pads for a fraction of a second. Acharging pad will have to establish a two-way contact with approachingelectrical vehicles, which will signal need of electric charge to it.
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