Electrified roads may be the key to addressing consumer issues with electric vehicle charging and range anxiety. Automakers have spent the past couple of years producing electric cars with increasingly longer ranges, but charging electric vehicles is much less convenient compared to refueling a conventional petrol or diesel-powered car.
While EV owners can install private EV chargers at home, plenty of American drivers do not have private garages or driveways to accommodate private chargers. Furthermore, America’s public EV charging infrastructure is not sufficient or reliable enough to support the existing number of EV drivers, let alone mass electric vehicle adoption.
Limited EV ranges coupled with poor charging infrastructure have contributed to a phenomenon called range anxiety, which prevents many drivers from switching to electric cars. Projects involving roads with the ability to charge electric vehicles while they drive are now popping up across the globe as a potential solution to range anxiety.
Stefan Tongur, vice president of U.S. Business Development at Israeli wireless EV charging provider Electreon, said in a recent interview that electrified roads could charge EVs of any type or shape, including electrified passenger vehicles, trucks, vans or buses. The Israeli firm has pilot projects in countries such as Italy, Norway and Sweden and is set to launch America’s first electrified road project next year.
According to Michele Mueller, Michigan Department of Transportation’s senior project manager of connected and automated vehicles, state officials are “really looking hard” at the upcoming electrified road project to determine any potential use cases for the technology in other places. She noted that the technology could be used to charge electrified passenger vehicles, transit and freight.
Sweden became the first country to permanently install electrified roads earlier this year after the nation announced it would be converting one highway into a permanent electrified road capable of charging electric trucks and cars. According to experts, the dynamic charging offered by the electric road would allow EVs with smaller batteries to drive longer distances while avoiding long lines at EV charging stations.
The Scandinavian nation has been a key early adopter in the electric road segment and was also home to the world’s first temporary electric roadway. One Swedish pilot project worth around $10 million connecting the town of Visby to the airport was almost wholly funded by the Swedish Transportation Administration. Sweden now plans to expand the electric roadway project to another 1,864 miles of roads by 2035.
As all options are considered to address range anxiety, the uptake of EVs from various manufacturers such as Lucid Motors (NASDAQ: LCID) is likely to accelerate as the concerns of the public are addressed over time.
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