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Getting an electric car charged isn’t easy unless you have your own garage or a spare set of batteries. Whilst the infrastructure is slowly being rolled out across many countries (Highways England is committed in the longer-term to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway network), there is still the inevitable worry that whilst you’re on your travels you’ll find yourself grinding to a halt on the side of the road and if you do find a charging station it will take upwards of four hours of sitting around to get enough juice to be on your way.
But now, thanks to induction technology, electric cars could be charged as they drive along the road. A project in the UK is underway to test inductive roads. According to the press release, initially it’s an off-road study which “involves fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.”
Since a contractor has yet to be appointed, it will be some time before this 18 month trial will begin and even longer before we begin to see the results on the road.
Although many companies are likely to be bidding for the opportunity to electrify Britain’s roads, one such company may be Smart Highway.
In the Netherlands, a live pilot of a project called Glowing Linesis on N329 in Oss. Using special light absorbing paint, these highway lines absorb energy during the day and emit light when it’s dark. Created by artist Daan Roosegaarde, and built by construction company Heijmans, a video of his inspiration can be found here.
Together Roosegaarde and Heijmans have also created a cycle path inspired by the Van Gogh painting “Starry Night”, which uses tiny stones to light the path at night.
In a world in which function often comes before artistic merit, designs like Wind Lights, may just be dreams and what we’ll end up with something that won’t look as nice but will do the same job. In the same way that solar lights are now being used in some locations, so too may wind powered lights become common place.
With the commercial sector, which includes commercial and institutional buildings, and public street and highway lighting, in the US consuming about 262 billion kWh for lighting, more innovative methods for saving power along the way would help save a great deal of energy around the world.