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PHOTO CAPTION: Toyohashi University of Technology's wirelessly powered electric runabout.

No Battery Needed

Toyohashi University of Technology and Taisei Corp collaborate on a small electric car that is powered wirelessly while driving.

Published: 22-Mar-2016

It wasn't far and it wasn't fast, but the little, single-seat electric runabout proved that you can power an electric car wirelessly while driving using metal strips embedded in the road.

Lead by Professor Takashi Ohira, students from Toyohashi University of Technology in cooperation with Taisei Corp, successfully drove their vehicle over a 30 meter (98 ft) roadbed with power transmitted inductively through steel wires fused into the tires. The resulting current powered the EV at a speed of 10 km/h (6 mph) during tests. Without a battery, travel is restricted to roads with power strips in them, which, of course, don't exist elsewhere other than at a similar test site in South Korea. There KAIST researchers created in 2013 a wireless bus and powered roadbed some 25 km (15 mi) long that provides regular transit service between the train station at Gumi and In-dong.

In practice, should the technology ever be adapted, future EVs would have some batteries to provide limited off-grid driving capability. This would enable the use smaller, less expensive battery packs. The big ticket item in this scheme would be in upgrading roads to incorporate the buried power cables and inductive metal strips.

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