First came news, earlier this year, of a brand-new electric car that could recharged itself on the go. Lightyear One is an electric car in development by a Dutch startup that can charge itself through solar panels installed in it. According to the manufacturer, the solar-powered car has a drive range of between 400km and 800km and it can carry on going for months without charging.
“Lightyear One charges using solar power, regular household plugs and existing heavy charging infrastructue, making electric driving possible for everyone. Lightyear One is the next step in driving: The electric car that can charge anywhere,” the car’s designers explain.
Now comes news of something just as promising: a road that can charge the batteries of electric vehicles that drive on it. Constructed on the outskirts of Stockholm by eRoad Arlanda, the 2km stretch of electrified public road has an electric rail embedded in its surface.
The road’s built-in system allows energy to be transferred to specially designed cars and trucks via its electrified track. A moveable arm, similar to those used on electric trams, connects to a vehicle’s underside automatically begins charging. The “dynamic charging” system calculates a passing vehicle’s energy consumption, tallying up its electricity costs that can then be debited to users.
The aim of the invention is to help charge electric vehicles on the go in order to enable them to get more mileage. The relatively short driving ranges of current electric vehicles on a single charge has been one of the hindrances to the true takeoff of such vehicles. To overcome such shortcoming, manufacturers are working on a new generation of longer-lasting and faster-charging batteries.
Technological breakthroughs like solar-powered vehicles and electrified roads can also go a long way towards making electric vehicles ever more efficient.