July 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM ET
A technology that wirelessly transmits electricity to cars driving along concrete roads may encourage more consumers to embrace gas-free EVs.
Fear of running out of juice while out and about has limited adoption of all-electric vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sales of the Nissan Leaf, for example, plummeted 69 percent in June from a year earlier.
Researchers at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan recently demonstrated a proof-of-concept version of wireless technology that transmits electricity to a car’s tires through four inches of concrete.
The tires have steel belts that then route the electricity to a battery or straight to the engine.
For now, the group is able to transmit 50 to 60 watts of electricity to life-sized automobile tires, enough to power a light bulb.
The electric power needs to be increased 100 times in order to be practical. Such a scale-up is technically and economically feasible, the group noted.
The team presented the EVER project (electric vehicle on electrified roadway) at the Wireless Technology Park 2012 trade show earlier this month in Japan.