Plugging in an electric vehicle could become a thing of the past.
French automaker Renault is hoping to one day eliminate the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles by helping to develop an "electric" road that can charge a vehicle as it drives along it.
Renault on Thursday successfully demonstrated its dynamic wireless electric vehicle charging (DEVC) concept on a 100 meter test track just outside of Paris. Developed with Qualcomm Technologies and Vedecom, the systems consists of a charging pad laid out on the road and a specially fitted charging system installed on the underside of a Renault Kangoo Z.E.
The concept for the project is essentially the same as a wireless charging pad you might use to recharge your smartphone. As the vehicle drives along, energy is transferred from the road below to the vehicle's battery pack. Renault says the system can currently deliver up to 20 kilowatts of electricity at vehicle speeds in excess of 100kph.
Although far from ready for a widespread rollout, Renault's DEVC system could be one potential way to increase the viability of electric vehicles. The DEVC system could eventually be implemented on certain stretches of roads, allowing for electric vehicles to travel longer without having to pull over for a charge.
The DEVC project is part of a larger program known as FABRIC, which stands for FeAsiBility analysis and development of on-Road chargIng solutions for future electriC vehicles.
"Contributing to this exciting project has enabled us to test and further research dynamic charging on our Kangoo Z.E. vehicles," said Eric Feunteun, Electric Vehicle Program Director, Groupe Renault. "Our research engineers have worked very closely with the Qualcomm Technologies and Vedecom teams to complete the DEVC system integration demonstration as part of FABRIC. We see dynamic charging as a great vision to further enhance the ease of use of EVs, and the accessibility of EVs for all."
The 9 million euro FABRIC program is scheduled to run through December of this year.