Israeli startup testing road technology that can charge vehicles

Dive Brief:

  • A public bus line in Tel Aviv will serve as a test for Israeli startup ElectRoad’s sub-surface electromagnetic power system.
  • The system uses buried wireless charging strips to power busses outfitted with a transfer coil, employing technology similar to wireless charging for smartphones and toothbrushes.
  • ElectRoad said roads can be retrofitted with the technology at the rate of 2 kilometers per day, and compliant busses would be lighter and need less fuel, reducing energy costs per unit by half.

Dive Insight:

If ElectRoad’s proof of concept project in Tel Aviv is successful, it could open up new possibilities for road construction. The technology could also substantially impact the nascent development of autonomous vehicles, offering an on-the-road power source and significantly reducing the need for fuel or energy storage via battery.

That said, ElectRoads power strips — buried 18 inches under the asphalt — need to pull energy from somewhere, and the source of that energy will go a long way toward determining how renewable and clean the technology can be beyond the elimination of diesel exhaust and particulate matter. Emission of electromagnetic radiation is a drawback to the wireless charging system, and ElectRoad has taken steps for localized shielding from the contact point to protect bus passengers and bystanders from emissions.

For the construction tech community, wireless vehicle charging probably offers more profit opportunity on the retrofit of roads infrastructure, but anything that makes transportation more lightweight, energy-efficient, and cheaper is ultimately going to benefit construction costs. 

Filed Under: Technology Infrastructure
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