Promotional team photo (via Toyohashi University of Technology)
Toyohashi University of Technology research students, led by Professor Takashi Ohira, successfully demonstrated their wireless transmission of electricity through 10cm (4 in) of road-grade concrete at this year’s (2012) Wireless Technology Park in Yokohama Japan. The premise of the design is to be able to power electric cars using high-speed electrical inverters planted under the surface of the road that take power from electrical lines and up-convert it into RF electrical signals.
Receiver plates housed inside tires can then take the electrical signal and either route it to the car's battery or ‘main-line it directly to the engine. Known as the EVER (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) project, the researchers demonstrated the proof-of-concept by providing 50-60 watts of power to the modified tires which then in-turn powered a candescent light-bulb while passing through four-inch blocks of concrete. That is with a 10-20% loss of electrical efficiency through the dense material which is not bad. Professor Ohira states that 100 times more electricity would be needed to power an actual EV (Electronic Vehicle) through Japan’s typical 10in thick concrete roads. The team states that the parts needed to do so are relatively cheap and that they can overcome this obstacle. If this road system is implemented we could see the resurgence of electric cars that have taken a ‘back-seat’ to conventional hybrids as most people are afraid of running out of electrical ‘juice’ on the road.