Every kid who’s ever played with slot cars had the dream that one day they could get inside one and whizz around a race track. Of course getting inside a regular petrol-driven car would probably give the desired effect, but the guys at a British electric motorsports company is working on an idea that would create life-size, electric-powered slot cars (minus the slots and the pins). In partnership with New Zealand’s Halo IPT, Drayson Racing, owned by former British Minister of Science Lord Paul Drayson, is installing wireless electric vehicle charging stations in pit allies as a test platform for automotive inductive charging.
Halo IPT will install “pickup pads” on cars, which will complete a circuit when “tuned” to an underground magnetic coil, charging the vehicle’s batteries. If everything goes to plan we could soon see whole racetracks functioning as EV charging points that continually charge the batteries of EV cars as they race.
What’s even more exciting is that because the EV racers would no longer need to carry hefty battery packs on board, inductive chargers buried under the track could provide continuous charging for cars racing at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 kph), and these babies could go all day and all night because the on-track range of battery powered cars would be infinite! The first prototype is expected later this year, with inductive charging pads in pit allies to follow soon after.
Although, the ultimate goal that the electricity used is produced by renewable sources, so the we have a fully clean, green life-cycle, is some way off. However, according to HaloIPT, we may only have to wait until 2020 until we see the technology installed on public roads. The New Zealanders have ambitious plans to develop “e-ways”, stretches of public roadway with inductive chargers buried beneath the surface that cost just 10% more to develop than conventional highways.
“Dynamic wireless charging will be a real game-changer, enabling zero emission electric vehicles to race over long periods without the need for heavy batteries,” Drayson said. “Motor racing is the ideal environment to fast-track the development of this promising technology and to prove its effectiveness.”
When it comes to clean vehicles, Drayson Racing has previous. The company leads the way in green motorsports and is currently working in collaboration with Lola to produce the first all-electric prototype race car. So, the future of emissions-free motorsports is in safe hands. All they need to do now is add the “VVVVVVRRRROOOOM” sound effects.