The global population has grown from 1.65 billion to six billion in the 20th century alone and is currently growing at a rate of around 1.11% per year. As of 2014, market reports suggest that 54% of the world’s population lives in cities, and this is expected to rise to 66% by 2050. A strong public transportation network and the need to switch to a clean and renewable source of energy is the need of the hour to cater to rapidly expanding cities. Germany is pioneering an energy revolution called the energiewende to avert future climatic disaster.
Going green with electric vehicles is an idea that is being put to practice increasingly in recent times. Many governments are in fact offering tax subsidies to purchasers of electric vehicles. These vehicles do not emit any fumes and can be “refueled” easily by either swapping batteries or charging them through electricity ports. Even better, some vehicles also have the facility to recharge wirelessly via electromagnetic induction.
Electric cars top the charts of these vehicles owing to the safe enclosed environment they provide. With a large market share, the car manufacturing industry is poised to revolutionize green and safe travel. Tesla has emerged as a market leader in the electric car segment. However, the overall impact of electric cars on the car world has not been too significant due to reasons such as long charging time, availability of very few charging stations and the purchase cost. While the maintenance cost of electric cars is relatively low, the market price for their purchase in most cases deters consumers from buying them.
Smart roads – a possible solution?
Building smart roads with electricity lanes can be a possible answer to this problem. These lanes can be powered with renewable resources such as solar or wind energy. When electric cars travel over them, they automatically recharge. This is likely to encourage the growth of the consumer market for electric vehicles, and as a result, reduce its market price.
While automobile manufacturers are researching to enhance the efficiency of electric vehicles, there are a few prominent players in the market who are working towards developing complementary smart roads. These are players who also own a strong IP portfolio.
Magna Electronics Inc. has been working towards improving charging of electric cars on the go. Magna developed a self-charging electric-fuel cell combo vehicle to improve the charging functionality. It has filed a patent application US20160036917A1 in smart road technology. The patent describes the use of multiple communication devices integrated in the road. These devices, powered by solar energy, can wirelessly interact with communication systems of vehicles traveling on a road.
Honda and Stanford University are other major players in this field. While Stanford has been using electric vehicle charging technology under the road for powering buses in Korea, Honda is planning to enable charging of electric vehicles dynamically on highways.
Market researches predict electric cars to form a major segment of transportation by 2030. Research in developing smart roads will revolutionize transportation modes, with electric cars earning a fair share of the market space, towards a greener travel experience.
(Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Route_solaire_de_Tourouvre_2.jpg)