One of the major issues with electric vehicles is that you sometimes need to drive a long way to find a public charging station if you're not at home. Today though, Volvo is wondering what if the very road you're driving on is doing the charging?
Volvo announced recently a partnership with the Swedish Transport Administration to study the potential for building electric roads. The idea is that the electric grid could wirelessly transfer a charge from the road to the vehicle as it moves. Volvo calls is inductive charging, and could have a 300 to 500-meter electric test road in the city of Gothernburg sometime next year.
"Vehicles capable of being charged directly from the road during operation could become the next pioneering step in the development towards reduced environmental impact," said Volvo Executive Vice President of Corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs Niklas Gustavsson.
"This is fully in line with out vision of becoming the world leader in sustainable transport solutions."
Volvo has already achieved real-world environmental success in their home country with the Hyper Bus project. Gothenburg has had three Volvo plug-in hybrid buses that use an electric engine to supplement the diesel engine and reduce emissions. Those buses charge their batteries at the end of the line, but charging under operation has obvious additional benefits from extended range to reduced charging time.
"Electric roads are another important part of the puzzle in our aim of achieving transport solutions that will minimize the impact on the environment," said Gustavsson.
Volvo is preparing to submit plans that will show a road in central Gothenburg that can serve as a testing ground for inductive charging. The plan is to use their findings to explore further potential usage for heavy vehicles, but it doesn't take much to imagine this system trickling its way down to commuter cars before long.