One of the biggest hurdles that the electric car has yet to completely conquer is range anxiety – although improved battery technology allows for longer driving ranges, EV charging infrastructure is still in its infancy. A team of Japanese university students recently tackled the issue by demonstrating a new wireless EV charging system that could give electric cars a driving range on par with gasoline and diesel powered cars. Unveiled at Wireless Technology Park 2012, the EVER system is able to transmit electricity to a vehicle through a four-inch-thick block of concrete.

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The university team’s project is named EVER (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) and its development is lead by Takashi Ohira, an electrical engineering professor at the Toyohashi University of Technology. This system would effectively do away with the charging cables that currently tether today’s EVs to the grid, and it could enable electric vehicles to travel hundreds of miles without having to stop for a recharge.

The team has developed an electric field coupling system to supply a charge to a car through its tires. In the recent demo, a metal plate was placed along with a four-inch layer of concrete, which represents the road surface. Electricity between 50 and 60 watts was successfully transmitted to standard size automobile tires.

This isn’t the first time that a team of engineers have tested the idea of an electrified roadway. Last year Toyota Central R&D Labs and Ohira tested a similar system. In order to make the system viable the electric power needs to be increased by at least 100 times, which is the group’s goal.

+ Toyohashi University of Technology