Roads That Charge Vehicles
England has announced a test period for creating a highway lane that will recharge electric vehicles traveling on it. 1)The UK is testing out roads that charge electric cars as they go, Mashable, Aug 17, 2015 2)Roads That Charge Electric Cars as They Drive May Be Coming to the UK, MIC, Aug 19, 2015 South Korea has had an operating bus transit road since Aug 2013. 3)World’s first road-powered electric vehicle network switches on in South Korea, ExtremeTech, Aug 6, 2013 4)KAIST rolling out dynamic wireless charging in buses in South Korea, Green Car Congress, Aug 8, 2013. The network of 15 miles serving two buses, with 10 more buses planned for 2015. Improvements in On-Line Electric Vehicle technology have brought charging efficiency up to 85%. Recharging plates are 400 lbs each and 5 pickups are used 20cm above the road for a 100kw charge. It is a lot of weight to consider for a passenger vehicle, but works for mass transit buses beautifully, saving thousands of pounds in battery weight.
Looking at this Highways England plan there are ways to improve the design. Depending on the electric current needed it may be possible to work from two CLEAN energy sources.
- Solar Energy
- Using solar panel arrays beneath or instead of electric lines from the side of the road.
- A solar photovoltaic film down the center of lanes that are not conductive.
- Best option though is Solar Roadways, which enable much more than the recharging of electric vehicles.
- Kinetic Energy
- Pressure generated by vehicles traveling on the surface could be picked up for conversion. This could even be applied with the Solar Roadways technology as a future revision.
The combination of solar roadways along with a recharging lane for electric vehicles makes perfect sense. Each providing massive paradigm shift for solving so many issues we encounter. The innovations might even be proactive enough to solve future issues as they rise!
Solar Roadways was awarded several grants through the Department of Transportation to continue research and development. However moving to production would require more funding, which the firm recently received using crowd-funding.
The IndieGoGo campaign for Solar Roadways met the $1 million development target by 212% with donations coming from around the world. The popularity of the campaign has it reopened to continue spreading its message. One of the huge advantages of crowd-sourced projects is they remain in the control of those developing them. A recent update video post discusses this.
Solar Roadways made a visit to Maker Faire Detroit (July 25-26, 2015) with several demonstration panels open for holding discussion. The programmable nature of the panels views locations such as the crumbling paving stones around Hart Plaza as a huge opportunity.
Systems Changes Possible
- Warming of surface to eliminate snow / ice removal
- Storm water runoff management
- Detected interference on roadways from animals or accidents
- Illumination on surface for messaging to travellers, configurable parking area notices, and even entertainment spaces
- Wireless Internet provided along all roads
- Excess energy to supplement neighborhoods near roadways
- Detected presence of OLEV enables switching on/off the charging of surface for pickup.
- Decentralized automation of sections of roadways with plenty of feedback sent up for analysis.
There are detractors busy criticizing and analyzing. This is not a problem, but a way to improve designs and concepts. Refined processes don’t just show up. Stress testing of massive systems requires actual work and discovery during that process. One of the problems faced by Solar Roadways were providers that won bids being able to actually meet the needs for the project. These situations wildly throw off timelines on projects. One advantage is spin-off projects that use subsets of the technology to derive faster to implementation production. These are sentiments carried in one of the best articles critiquing the project that I’ve seen. 5)Would Solar Roadways Work? A Government Engineer Discusses the Controversial Technology, Green Tech Media, Aug 29, 2014
“I believe the application can be used for smaller scale purposes — potentially, pedestrian walkways and sidewalks that get lower load and have fewer safety considerations. For roads, there are so many unknowns. In terms of the long-term vision, I don’t consider it to be realistic. But I enjoy the vision and appreciate it, and will try to support them to see what other benefits may present themselves,” said Eric Weaver, Department of Transportation.
Existing Systems Stifle Implementation of Innovation
The biggest hurdle to revolutionary technological advances will be open-minded, creative legislation and policies to be built around adopting them. Michigan claims to be capable, however this would revolutionize many long-standing industries heavily invested in Michigan’s economy. That means a flood of lobbying money will show up to control loss for existing business. There could be lawsuits filed claiming loss of profits as cause by these corporate entities. It would seem fossil fuel businesses would be most impacted and are known well to behave like they have arterial bleeding requiring a tourniquet. As new technology stabilizes and becomes proven we have to move forward; departing and reducing from what isn’t working, namely pollution and extraction of fossil products requiring a million years to produce. The future for adoption is going to take a decade or more – but the public will be seeing change in that period that is worth supporting.
Stress of Systems Change Affects Everything
A change this big could affect everything. Every sector of our fossil fuel based economy will be impacted. Jobs will be created during the overhaul of systems. It will require retraining of skilled workers and transition into green energy employment. Our environmental impact here in Michigan would change for the better and the future of our Great Lakes would be more sustainable and restorative.
Our ways of thinking about energy have steadily been changing and the majority of Americans would welcome solar energy and electronic vehicles provided the infrastructure existed for sustaining the shift. Addressing our Michigan Roads situation needs some fresh thought and new energy put into it.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The UK is testing out roads that charge electric cars as they go, Mashable, Aug 17, 2015|
|2.||↑||Roads That Charge Electric Cars as They Drive May Be Coming to the UK, MIC, Aug 19, 2015|
|3.||↑||World’s first road-powered electric vehicle network switches on in South Korea, ExtremeTech, Aug 6, 2013|
|4.||↑||KAIST rolling out dynamic wireless charging in buses in South Korea, Green Car Congress, Aug 8, 2013.|
|5.||↑||Would Solar Roadways Work? A Government Engineer Discusses the Controversial Technology, Green Tech Media, Aug 29, 2014|