Business

New electric vehicle powered by road coils receives upgrade

JIJI

A team of developers said Thursday they have succeeded in sharply upgrading a new type of electric vehicle that uses electricity transmitted from coils embedded in road surfaces.

The electric vehicle uses motors installed inside its wheels, eliminating the need for parts to connect the wheels with an external motor and making the vehicle lighter. The motors are powered by electricity transmitted from road coils through magnetism, allowing the motors to be wirelessly charged.

“In the future, (cars) will not need to be recharged if they can receive electricity while running or stopping on coils laid in parts of the expressway or in roads near intersections,” Hiroshi Fujimoto, associate professor at the University of Tokyo and a member of the development team, said.

The mechanism reduces the necessary battery capacity, lowering the weight and cost of the vehicle. The team, which also includes bearing producer NSK Ltd. and electronic parts maker Rohm Co., aims to use the technology to develop a cheap, convenient electric vehicle system.

Field tests are slated to be held near the university’s Kashiwa campus in Chiba Prefecture in 2025.

Wheels on the prototype vehicle revealed to the press at the campus were also mounted with devices such as voltage converters, upgrading the power output of the vehicle from minivehicle class to standard vehicle class.

The receptor coils picking up the magnetism from the road were equipped near the center of the wheels instead of on the chassis, ensuring a close distance with the road coils. According to the team, the receptor coils can be embedded inside the wheels if other wheel parts are made from materials other than metal.

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