As always, the range of electric vehicles remains one of the primary selling points for any company pushing alternative transportation. In the quest to increase the range more and more, different methods of battery charging has been introduced or methods of keeping a battery at maximum efficiency for as long as possible as been explored. However, some still think it should be possible to have your electric car and have it without the need for a battery. Born out of that idea we have wirelessly charged electric vehicles.
The latest of these wireless electric vehicles comes from a team of students researching alternative transportation at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Called the E-Quickie, the fourteen students working on the project designed a small electric vehicle that is capable of drawing power from the road instead of through a battery. The idea is that the roadways would be lined with electric conductors that would allow the E-Quickie to pull energy from the road continuously during the driving process. This means that the E-Quickie is always being charged and would ideally never run out of power as long as the vehicle remained on the roadway. The only battery that does exist on board the vehicle is used to ensure that the E-Quickie’s power source is not interrupted when driving off the main roadway currents for situations when it would be pulling into a parking place or at home.
The E-Quickie, as its current prototype is designed, is one of the lightest forms of alternative transportation that runs. The vehicle itself weights approximately 132 pounds with space enough for one driver on the three wheeled design. With more work, the head of the project believes that the E-Quickie’s weight could be reduced to only 88 pounds and maintain a driver to vehicle weight ration of only 1:2. Due to the vehicle’s light weight, it is capable of achieving thirty one miles per hour with a small two kilowatt electric engine. While the lower speeds obviously do not necessarily make the E-Quickie an immediate contender with other electric cars currently on the market, it is still impressive for such a small project.
The E-Quickie was recently tested on the Karlsruhe E-Meile by running a 728 foot conductor line around the distance of the track allowing the vehicle to complete forty laps around the track with no major problems. With the design already working well, the team hopes to continue fine tuning and developing the E-Quickie into an even more viable form of alternative transportation. Obviously, the main obstacle against allowing the vehicle to become a commercial product is the requirement that the roadways of the country, or even the world, must have the electric conductors laid out. However, given a plan with the right cost there should be little reason why something like this could not be achieved easily. It certainly does give an interesting look at a future where roadways are planned around where the best power strip can be placed and powered.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing courtesy Justmeans.