The Toyohashi University of Technology demonstrated recently a wireless power transmission technology using electric field coupling with automobile tires, in order to power electric cars through around 10cm of concrete road blocks. As one of the most important disadvantages of electric cars at the moment is their limited range, this wireless power transmission could be a major step towards electric mobility in the future. At the moment this technology is able to light up a 40 Watt light bulb, but Takashi Ohira, an electrical engineering professor at the Toyohashi University, works on improving the amount of energy that is transmitted.
The charging system has already been demonstrated to work, and relies on relatively cheap parts to setup. In order for it to be used on real roads the power transmission needs to be increased 100-fold, which is achievable. Ohira also says that the thickness of the concrete can be increased to 20cm and the charging will still occur. The fact that the whole system is protected by a thick layer of concrete also ensures it’s going tovery durable regardless of weather conditions or heavy use of a road.
Moving over to such a system would require major investment from governments due to the amount of road resurfacing that is required. However, if it was planned alongside already scheduled road maintenance, the costs and disruption could be kept to a minimum.
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