Electric cars are considered as the lowest emission vehicles nowadays because in literally they are not emitting anything. Those cars are considered as the answer for air pollution, where vehicle emission is one of its biggest donators, which big cities all around the world are facing nowadays.
The problem is that electric cars are kind of needy, most of them need to recharge once every 20 to 50 kilometers. For people who only drive their car inside the town, maybe that’s okay. But for people who need to drive farther in daily basis, that car would be too needy.
Indeed, some electric charging ports are provided, but the problem is the accessibility of those charging ports. So, the challenge for now is how to support the “cleaner” vehicle so that people who travel farther can still enjoy their trips.
Of course, the electric cars owners would not be happy finding their cars stopping in the middle of the trip because of running out of energy. And maybe that is one of some reasons why conventional cars owners have not converted to cleaner energy yet.
The “Green” Lane In UK
Since distance and accessibility are the problems electric cars owners are facing nowadays, the United Kingdom government provided a solution to both of it. The solution is electric re-charging lane for electric and hybrid cars.
This solution was declared by Highways England in 2015 and since then the government of United Kingdom has committed over 500 million pounds to advancing this technology. This technology was predicted to be fully applied in year 2020.
This special “green” lane functions by utilizing electromagnetic electricity. In order to function, the vehicles need to be equipped with some kind of wireless device. After that, the electric cables buried under the surface will generate electromagnetic fields.
The electromagnetic energy will be picked up by a coil inside the device in the vehicles and converted into electricity. Thus, the need of battery will be minimized in this process, because this process would continue to happen all along the way.
If this technology shall succeed, it is more likely the use of conventional vehicles can be decreased. It shall result in lower air pollution by vehicle emission. Maybe if this technology is applied globally and is a big success, gas stations are likely to disappear in the future.
South Korean OLEV Bus
United Kingdom was not the first country to announce the use of such technology. South Korea was the first one to implement it on the road, although it was not for public cars.
It was their OLEV (Online Electric Vehicle) bus that was the first one who tasted the charging-on-the -road technology. The technology they use in this project is called Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR).
The technology used was similar to what the UK government applied. This also includes the use of electromagnetic from cables under the road and then picked by coil inside the device and then converted into electricity.
By using this technology, Korean researcher said that the amount of electricity transferred is 20kHz and 100 kilowatts (equal to 136 horsepower). While the power transmission is up to 85% maximum power transmission efficiency rate.
The Korean project was applied on the 12 kilometers road by 2013 and increasing as the time goes. This project was brought up by team from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Dong-Ho Cho was the one who led the team behind this scheme.
“It’s quite remarkable that we succeeded with the OLEV [online electric vehicle] project so that buses are offering public transportation services to passengers,” said Cho to BBC. “This is certainly a turning point for OLEV to become more commercialized and widely accepted for mass transportation.”
Is It Cost Effective?
Since the birth of OLEV, debates about whether the electric re-charging lane are growing. The most debatable thing about this facility is “how cost effective is the facility if it is made public?”.
The director of Cardiff Business School’s Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence, Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis stated that the cost issue will be the problem such project. “Cost will be the biggest issue and I’m not totally convinced it’s worth it,” said Dr Paul as quoted from BBC.
“Battery technology is increasing – if you look at what Tesla has achieved in recent years, it keeps adding more range to battery technology roughly every six months. So, it’s not clear there’s even a need for this.”
Indeed, Tesla is one bragging company that stated their electric vehicle could run for more than 300 kilometers in one charging. And that’s not the end of it, they say that they are keep finding ways to add more kilometers on their electric vehicles.
In addition, the road reconstruction for planting the cables are another cost to be considered. In further appliance, it means that along the green lane there will be cables and it also means that the roads have to be reconstructed.
It Is Worth It?
However, the idea of the green lane is still worth it whatever it costs. It will be the symbol of conversion from conventional oil-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles. When each car they see on the road is electric cars, the conventional cars drivers will start to consider converting to electric.
And when every car on the road is non-oil fueled car, how much pollution is averted? The consumption of fossil fuel will also significantly decrease.
The second is the green lane is more effective in energy saving than battery charging in the dock. Imagine you are charging your car every night, how much you spend on electricity?
This road will help you save your electricity bill and in bigger account it will save the whole energy stock of the country. This way, this car is greener than using the battery.
In addition, the green lane also makes battery size needed in future electric cars smaller. By that it will reduce the amount of resource needed to make the battery and its waste from used battery. So, in the Eco-friendliness point of view, this innovation is still worth it no matter the cost.