Japanese construction group Obayashi and auto parts supplier Denso have begun testing wireless charging road surfaces designed for electric vehicles, with the goal of realizing the technology by 2025. At Obayashi’s research center in Tokyo, a small electric vehicle was able to travel at 15 kilometers per hour with little interruption on a lane with a continuous electric loop embedded under the surface.
Image credit: Obayashi
The technology uses magnetic field induction technology, where electricity from coils under the roadway interacts with coils inside the electric vehicle to generate electric current. Obayashi’s fiber-reinforced concrete improves the durability of the roadway, allowing coils under the roadway to be installed near the surface for optimal charging. Toyota subsidiary Denso is studying the performance of coils and power sources.
Installing coils under the road will result in some loss of power transmission, making this technology less efficient than using wires when charging electric vehicles, and the pavement will cost more to lay than conventional pavement.
By March next year, Obayashi and Denso will collect test data at the former’s closed site to determine how the technology will perform on real streets.
Obayashi has also entered into a partnership with Japanese cable manufacturer Furukawa Electric to install power and Internet cables at the roadside to provide charging and communication support for electric and self-driving cars. This infrastructure is expected to help make electric and self-driving cars mainstream technology.