While battery cars offer the advantage of zero-emissions driving, they also suffer from a number of disadvantages, notably their limited range and long charging times. But an ambitious new project from Volvo could solve both problems by giving a vehicle a way to charge up while its actually driving.
The maker is working with the Swedish Transport Association to create short stretches of electrified roadway in Gothenberg, the Scandinavian country’s second-largest city. Using a concept called inductive charging, specially designed city buses would simply have to drive along dedicated portions of pavement to partially replenish their batteries. But because there are no exposed wires, the system would be safe for humans and animals who might inadvertently walk across the chargers.
Volvo isn’t the only one looking for ways to use highways to provide power. An Idaho couple has launched a $1 million campaign effort through the Indiegogo crowdsourcing site, while also tapping a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration, with the idea of developing solar panels that can be used as an alternative to conventional pavement.