Frequently Asked Questions
- How does it work?
Wireless electric road technology is based on magnetic resonance induction, with copper coils installed under the roadway. The coils transfer energy to a receiver that can be mounted under any kind of electric vehicle, such as trucks, vans, buses and cars. Wireless charging can be installed absolutely anywhere as it does not have the same limitations as conductive (plug-in) charging. The technology can be deployed along public roads, tollways, motorways, bus routes, taxi lanes, in parking lots, and at commercial depot centers and parking lots. This enables frequent ‘top-up’ or opportunity charging throughout fleet operational hours—typically during the day—and converts idle or ‘dead’ time into charging opportunities. This technology reduces the need for large batteries and extensive grid connection capacity, flattening the electricity demand curve, all of which significantly lowers costs and enables better management of transport energy.
- What does the electric road look like?
The road looks just like any regular road since the charging segment technology is underneath the asphalt surface. There are inconspicuous control units (like electrical boxes) on the road’s side, which manage the electricity to the underground charging segments. These control units can also be installed underground, which would therefore make the entire charging system virtually invisible, without any exposed cords, wires, infrastructure. Without knowing that it is an electric road – you wouldn’t see any big difference between the electric road and any other road.
- What are the noise implications of the electric road?
Wireless charging, whether in the static (parked) mode or in the dynamic (in-motion) mode from an electric road road may produce minimal noise, much like the sound of a car’s hum due to the cooling system. When inactive, the system is completely quiet.
- Are there any environmental implications?
Electreon’s wireless charging system is meant to reduce carbon emissions and promote carbon neutrality by enabling a sustainable charging solution for a future of more EVs. About a fifth of global annual carbon emissions is generated by the transport sector, the vast majority of this being from road vehicles. Electreon’s wireless electric charging presents a scalable solution of emission-saving benefits:
- Battery size (kWh and weight) reduction and therefore carbon footprint emission reductions that comes from each kWh produced and also from driving lighter vehicles (which emit less carbon than heavier vehicles)
- Integration with off-grid, on-site clean energy solutions, such as solar panel fences.
- Seamless utilization of existing roadway infrastructure for these clean energy solutions, such as solar fences along the roadway corridor
- The enablement of a shared charging platform which can charge multiple vehicles at once simultaneously from the same system, thereby lessening the need for large-scale manufacturing of plug-in chargers, which in many cases can only charge one vehicle at a time.
- Won’t this technology weaken the roadway and give us more potholes and cracks in the asphalt?
Actually, not at all. We’ve completed third party stress and endurance testing on the roadway to show that our technology, when installed underneath the asphalt, does not negatively impact the roadway’s lifetime or quality. The testing involved using a heavy vehicle simulator to pass over the road thousands of times over several months in varying temperatures and weights, concluding that the structural integrity of the roadway with Electreon’s technology showed a life expectancy and quality that is the same to a roadway without Electreon’s installed technology. This shows that Electreon’s technology can support increased roadway traffic, be deployed on a large commercial scale, and meet real world conditions, all while still being able to minimize the need for maintenance costs.
- What is the maximum speed that the vehicles can drive over the electric road and still receive charge?
In regards to speed limitations for vehicles on the electric roadway, our system has been successfully tested with speeds of up 50 mph (80 km/h), but this is mainly due to limitations of the road’s speed limit itself in the areas where the technology has been deployed. In Sweden, a heavy-duty truck drove at this speed from the electric road at a stable power level of 100 kW of charging.
Based on these tests, charging efficiency remains constant regardless of speed, though the speed would impact the amount of energy being transferred overall, since at faster speeds, less time is being spent over the roadway to charge.
The system itself is designed to support higher speeds and high speed tests are planned to be completed 2023-2024 for up to 120 km/h).
- What is the difference between inductive and conductive charging?
Inductive charging is charging over the air, by magnetic field coupling, which enables wireless charging. Common examples in daily life are an inductive kitchen stove, wireless phone charging and charging of an electric toothbrush.
Conductive charging on electric roads means that electric energy is transferred with a direct connection such as a cable or plug, or from the roadway, from the side or from above, via rails or electric wires, where the electric vehicles have to connect physically while parked. Some electric vehicles can charge while driving and this technology requires an arm or pantograph attached to the vehicle that connects the rail or the cable to enable the vehicle to receive power as it moves.
- Why wireless?
The wireless technology makes the system flexible, cost-effective, easy to maintain and has minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Wireless Electric Road Systems (wERS) and wireless charging stations are an important solution to help make our transport system more sustainable. Conductive technology is favorable in some specific use cases, but inductive systems offer much greater flexibility. Wireless charging can operate as a shared charging platform, be deployed in endless areas of use, and work with CaaS (Charging As A Service) and RaaS (Road As A Service) business models. Inductive technology is also well suited for autonomous vehicles (AVs) as no human intervention is required. As EV ownership grows, conductive solutions can complement the more flexible and sustainable inductive Electric Road charging solutions.
- What is the technical lifespan of the infrastructure?
With normal maintenance the coils and other equipment will have an estimated technical lifespan of approximately 10-20 years, although it could offer a longer lifespan.
- Is the technology useful in urban environments?
Yes. This technology is perfectly suited for urban locations, for charging vehicles that are driving, idling, queuing or parked. For example, this technology can be installed discreetly at a bus terminal or station, commercial port, a taxi queue, or city center, where many vehicles pass through. As the technology is minimal and does not require complex, large, and obstructive infrastructure to operate, it is ideal for deployment in urban environments that are traffic-heavy.
- How does the technology work with snow and ice?
The energy transfer is not affected by snow and ice.
- Is the system compatible with tunnels?
As the infrastructure lies just beneath the roadway surface , installing the technology in tunnels is not a problem, as long as the Electric Road can be provided with an energy supply.
- Is Electreon’s technology dangerous?
No, the road is safe for drivers, pedestrians, and wildlife. Each individual coil embedded in the road is only activated when a licensed vehicle passes over it, and are thus are inactive (powered off) in their default mode. Without a licensed vehicle activating the coil to transfer energy, the technology is completely passive and will never transfer energy or radiation to unlicensed vehicles, people or animals passing by. Electric vehicles which do not have Electreon’s receivers can drive on the electric roadway without the concern that energy will be stolen from the roadway, as the vehicles will not be recognized by the coils and therefore will not be able to activate them.
The system has been thoroughly safety tested to identify safety risks, establish safe-practice routines, and manage energy transfer control when the charging is active. Testing has also ensured that the technology is completely safe for humans and the environment, and there’s no risk of electrocution, even in bad weather conditions. Pedestrians walking by the road, or traveling on the electric road are completely safe, even if they use hearing aids or pacemakers. Electreon’s technology adheres to the highest IEC, SAE and CE safety standards and has passed EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure tests with high margins.