Tel Aviv to test its first smart road

Tel Aviv is reported to be testing its first electric road that could be used to charge electric cars as they drive.

[quote] ElectRoad is a start-up company which at its inception was aimed at being the enabler of large scale adoption of pure electric buses, with its target being public transportation within cities facilitated by a dynamic wireless electrification system for urban transportation.

The firm says that its technology charges vehicles via cordless power transfers as they drive. The trial will also establish how the technology lasts over time.

The start-up partnered with the local municipality to embed a strip of road on Shoshana Persitz Street with ElectRoad’s “smart road” technology, with the aim of testing how the company’s technology stands up to vehicle traffic and weather over time.

According to regional news source Haaretz, Oren Ezer, the entrepreneur behind ElectRoad was reported saying that the “process of turning a road into a “smart road” is relatively simple, despite the complicated-sounding nature of the technology.” Enzer added that grooves are carved into the asphalt and a chain of copper loops inserted. The chain is in turn connected to a power converter at the side of the road.

Electric cars used in the trial have contacts fitted onto their undercarriage that receive electricity when driving over the smart road. The smart road is designed in such a way that will give the vehicles enough energy to power them as well as charge their batteries.

Smart road technology

Enzer said that electric road technologies are only capable of charging batteries and don’t have the ability to power a vehicle in real-time. He noted that ElectRoad’s technology has the potential to enable electric vehicles to have smaller batteries, making them less expensive and lighter. Its technology shouldn’t affect passing vehicles not fitted with contacts.

Haaretz adds that one of the largest obstacles facing electric vehicles is the need to charge them, as well as the limited capacity and high cost of their batteries. Electric buses for example have batteries weighing 5-6 tons and retail at US$250,000 apiece, which is often half the cost of the electric bus itself.

Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi was reported saying that should the trial succeed, the city hopes to conduct a broader pilot with electric buses on the roads surrounding Tel Aviv University.