World's first electrified road charges vehicles as they drive
What's Going On Here?
A road in Sweden has become the first in the world to recharge the batteries of cars and trucks while they drive along it. We've seen electrified roads before using overhead power lines. That didn't really work. But this does! 🎉
What Does This Mean?
Critics of electric vehicles point the finger at two main limitations. The first is keeping the vehicle charged. The second is making the batteries affordable, given their high production cost. Fortunately, the latter is falling. But keeping vehicles charged has always proved a problem. Until now...
Here's how it works. A rail embedded in tarmac transfers energy via a moveable arm which attaches to the bottom of the vehicle. The set up is like a Scalextric track, except that when the vehicle wants to overtake, the arm automatically disconnects. Clever 🤓
This dynamic charging means that vehicles can be charged whilst moving. No more irritating 15-hour service stops! Phew! On-road charging has the added benefit of meaning the vehicle's batteries can be smaller, and therefore lighter and cheaper. Efficiency Levels through the ROOF 💥
Why Should We Care?
In 2015, Sweden 🇸🇪 announced their plans to be the first fossil fuel-free country in the world by 2030. To hit their goal they needed to make changes quickly which required huge government investment. Well, now they've got it, as it's going to cost over €1million per kilometer.
In other countries like the US, over 29% of fossil fuel emissions are from transportation. Switching to electric transportation minimizes vehicle exhaust emissions but doesn't necessarily remove fossil fuels from the chain. To remove them altogether, governments need to do more to support clean renewable energy, as the Portuguese government have been doing.
Driving a car for just one mile can produce as much as 15 times more CO2e (which is basically CO2 plus other similarly polluting gases) than taking the equivalent bus journey.
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