Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Electric Avenue: Stanford team wants to recharge your car while you drive


For the environmentally  (as well as financially) conscious driver, electric cars are the only way to cruise. With California stressing greener cars and automakers making a concerted effort to bring more affordable electric vehicles to the public, the need for basics like charging stations are increasingly paramount. Even big retailers like Ikea and Walmart are getting onboard by adding said stations to their stores (the easier to shop inside, of course).

Now researchers at Stanford are working on a progressive system that would all but eliminate the need for charging stations by literally electrifying the roads we drive on. Using technology known as magnetic resonance coupling, the general idea is that metal coils would be placed in the actual freeway itself, creating a wireless transfer system that could literally charge an electric car’s battery as it drives.

“Our vision is that you'll be able to drive onto any highway and charge your car," explained Shanhui Fan, an associate professor of electrical engineering working on the project to the Stanford News. “Large-scale deployment would involve revamping the entire highway system and could even have applications beyond transportation.”

As exciting as the concept of electric highways charging cars as they drive might be, all I can thing about are those “applications beyond transportation” — like being about to charge my phone and laptop computer at the same time…