• Sep 2nd 2009 at 5:04PM
  • 13

Using solar roads for power generation is an idea that is being tested by the U.S. DOE. Over in Korea, tests involving a road giving up some power are underway. Instead of sucking up sunlight, the prototype roads send energy upwards to small electric vehicles through touchless magnetic induction technology. Developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST), the OLEV (On Line Electric Vehicle) system uses buried power cables in the road and a receiving unit in the EVs traveling on it. KAIST says that power is transferred at 80 percent efficiency when going through a centimeter of air (not exactly practical for today's cars) and is 60 percent efficient through 12 centimeters. KAIST is working to make the OLEV a suitable business prospect.

As tipster Yanquetino writes, "I opine that we will still need batteries in our EVs, but... laying such cables down a specialized lane of our Interstates would eliminate range anxiety once and for all. Rather than installing charging stations all over the planet, might as well spend the money on something like this." Thanks for the tip!

[Source: DesignBoom via All Cars Electric]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Polo- what do you have against this?

      See, the issue with electric cars is range.

      Yes, 120 mile range is enough for the planned commutes of most people, but the thing is that cars are expensive, and there is a certain level of functionality that is assumed to be had for a machine of that price.

      I mean, your commute might not be that much, but say you have a friend or relative that lives 30 miles away, and you decide to go there after work, but first you have to pick something up at the store, and then you have to drive home. Or you want to go skiing or camping for the weekend, and being a city dweller you have to drive 50 miles each way for that. Or your kid is going off to college, and you decide it would be better to cram all thier crap in the car and drive out. Or You have just gotten back from your work day, haven't plugged in yet, or only plugged it in for afew minutes when somone needs to be driven to the ER- It dosn't happen every day, but it does happen enough that the majority of people aren't going to want to rent a car every time they need more than 120 miles.

      A vehicle that can't be driven as far as you want it, with access to commonly available fuel, at highway speeds, in both rain and snow, and carry 4 adults, is considered a limited or specialized vehicle, just as a motorcycle is considered a specialized vehicle because you can only carry 2 people and most people don't live riding in bad weather, or a vespa is specialized because you can't take it on the freeway. The difference is your basic, workhorse scooter starts at $1500-$2000, and your basic motorcycle starts at $3500-$5000, much less than the cost of a typical economy car. A basic electric car starts at $30,000- thats more than a non specialized, non limited basic workhorse car.

      and a 15 minute quick charge is significantly more than a 5 minute fill at the pump. I mean it's doable, but being 15 minutes late to work is usually frowned apon.

      The less you ask people to change their lifestyle, the better. An induction strip in major highways, where electric cars have the worst range, and where longer distance trips are usually taken, makes this lifestyle change much more minor, and gives more credibility to electric vehicles as a primary mode of transportation.

      I'm also going to say that the highway is the best place for these- distances within a city are short enough anyway for the range issue not to be so much of an issue, and you are being stupid to take anything with more than 2 wheels (unless it's a train or a bus) into the city anyway..
      • 2 Years Ago
      1>what are the properties of road so that flux can come out and receive by pickup coil in VEHICLE? 2>Is that different from other road?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Finally! Tesla's dream becomes a reality!
      I just hope it doesn't set my hair on fire in the rain.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if the power capability is too low to power a diesel-electric train. It seems like for that it would be the easiest to install and convert existing vehicles.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If it's 80% efficient through 1cm of air, how efficient is it through 8 inches of snow?

      This would be awesome if they were installed on all major highways and city streets, but it seems to me that the whole concept is totally fantastical.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, the article does mention a 60% efficiency over 12 cm, which works out to about 4 3/4 inches, so it's not ready for really deep snow, but then, 8" of snow is a bit of a problem for most vehicles, anyway.

        I've heard of some other inductive power transfer designs being researched that got higher efficiency over longer distances by resonant coupling, but I don't know how well that would work for a moving vehicle.

        I'm wondering if a linear induction motor, pulling the car along, might be a better idea, especially where snow and ice cause traction problems.

        It's early in the development cycle, we'll see in a few years if they can make it practical.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Slot cars racing for the masses! LOL! You could have them in parking lots when you park to get groceries or to just shop. Hook it to a solar array or wind generators and hey it could be intersting. Electric cars are going thru the early stages in development. Like the car came from a horeless carrage to what it has become today. Back then lots of people made there own cars. It will take many years to get these cheap and to everyone like todays cars. Interesting to say the least. Still looking for the next car to replace my 01 tdi jetta. Nothing out there yet. Only 100k miles on it anyway, I have time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The potential for this technology goes way beyond just recharging and range extension. This could eliminate the weakness plaguing electric cars since inception: batteries. Why carry 1000+lb of batteries when you only need one that can power the car for 5 minutes (driveway, reverse, short off grid driving, etc). The weight reduction would be tremendous.
      • 6 Years Ago
      But surely it would be more expensive to put these in the road than have a station every 20 miles? Could be something used inside cities though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        --The whole point is not to have to stop and sit for 9 or 10 hours to recharge the vehicle which is the biggest downside to an electric vehicle.

        Its 15 minutes at the fast charging stations Nissan is installing several cities. The 8 hour charging is at-home, over-night.

        --So far it is only good as a short distance commuter vehicle, a very specialized purpose, which would require even single people to purchase a second vehicle just to visit grandma.

        Lets see...considering the vast majority of the population - over 90% - travel an average of 40miles a day for the vast majority of time, except for maybe literally a handful of days out of the...how is an EV with a range of 120miles like the imev, or up to 300miles with a model S, a "specialized purpose" commuter car? You know, not everybody is tethered to their grandma by hundreds of miles, for the extended trips just accept rental cars as a necessary evil for being an early oil-free adopter....or you can just choose not to one of the early adopters and wait till there is a fast charging station at least every 100 miles between you and the old lady.

        Its funny that the only people I've EVER heard make "visiting grandma" the deciding factor in buying a car are EV opponents on internet.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The whole point is not to have to stop and sit for 9 or 10 hours to recharge the vehicle which is the biggest downside to an electric vehicle. If it can be recharged enroute it will finally be a viable replacement for the internal combustion engine vehicle. So far it is only good as a short distance commuter vehicle, a very specialized purpose, which would require even single people to purchase a second vehicle just to visit grandma.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think a system like that will make a lot of sense for lond distance transportation with electric/ hybrid lorries and busses. It could assist also cars if necessary.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Electric trains can already handle long distance freight/passenger transport with ease and the direct current transfer is much more efficient.
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