US and UK driving electric vehicle technology forward


US electric vehicle (EV) company Recargo has finished a 24-day, 19,606km (12,183-mile) road trip across the US in a 100 per cent electric powered car in an attempt to set a new world record and draw attention to the country’s EV charging infrastructure.

Driving a stock Tesla Model S sedan, Norman Hajjar, managing director of Recargo’s driver research division, PlugInsights, recharged at Tesla’s newly built string of cross-country stations to make the coast-to-coast journey.

Mr Hajjar commented on the objective of the trip: “We wanted to illustrate what’s possible with the nation’s charging infrastructure, and draw attention to needs for further improvement.

“The plausibility of a mass switch to EV usage in America simply can’t be separated from the need for a robust fast-charging network.

He added: “I’ve travelled over 12,000 miles in under three and a half weeks. With the proper infrastructure, there’s nothing an EV can’t do.”

Dynamic charging

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Highways Agency plans to test dynamic wireless charging of moving electric cars, reports Engineering and Technology Magazine.

The agency has yet to give details of the trial site or dates of the on-the-road charging, which uses electromagnetic fields generated by subsurface modules to allow for extended range and smaller car batteries.

It has, however, issued criteria for system adoption, including a lifecycle comparable to that of asphalt (typically around 16 years), cost-effective maintenance, resistance to vibration and weather, and efficient charge collection at high speeds.

The HA will also be monitoring the semi-dynamic charging trial highlighted by Transport Scotland chief executive David Middleton at a Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation conference in March 2014.

A halfway house between static and dynamic technologies, it will enable a hybrid bus to pick up charge from a series of modules installed under the road surface at strategic points along the route so it can run for long periods in fully electric mode.

US research at North Carolina State University suggests that dynamic car charging could increase EV driving range from around 100km to nearly 500km.

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US and UK driving electric vehicle technology forward