Chariot electric bus and an electric heave duty truck are wirelessly charged from ElectReon’s electric road on the Swedish island of Gotland.
ElectReon implanted 1.2-metre-long coils fist-deep into a 4.1km road linking Visby airport and town center on Gotland Island. The project then equipped a Chariot electric bus with three underfloor receivers picking up charge as the bus moves. The technology involves induction: a process known to mobile device owners using charging mats.
Wireless charging’s potential is huge. Electric vehicles took under 5 percent of world new car sales last year, and just 2 percent in the US. Poor sales reflect what has become known as “charge anxiety” among would-be buyers. US President Biden wants half a million charging stations across the USA by 2030: a $15 billion investment. Germany, also testing electric highways around Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart, expects as many as 10 million electric vehicles on its roads by the end of the decade: some 20 times the current figure. Sweden, aiming for zero net emissions by 2045, plans 2400 kilometers (1491 miles) of electric roads by 2037.
The Swedish Transport Administration says ElectReon’s Gotland project cost some €1 million/$1.2 million a kilometre. This is half the price of a catenary network. Still, ElectReon’s coils deliver a quarter of a catenary network’s power: direct energy transfer is more efficient. Ocercoming this calls for more infrastructure. In a few years ElectReon has boosted power transfer ten-fold to 25 kilowatt hours per receiver. It aims at 45kWh next year.
The ElectReon system “is easy to deploy, has almost no visible parts, and hopefully also low maintenance costs,” says Swedish Transport Administration strategic development director Jan Pettersson.