Someday soon we may be able to leave worries of charging our EVs behind. In the future, EVs will go any distance, stopping for nothing, because soon we’ll be able to charge while we drive. And the Smartroad Gotland project has taken the first step, proving that wireless charging while driving IS possible. Is this what we need to finally get electric semi-trucks on the road?

Stopping for nothing

The range available on most EVs these days is enough for most people. You can go as far as you need and charging on road trips isn’t too much of a hassle. But this limited range is a massive problem for electric semi-trucks, and not for the reason you think.

Obviously semi-trucks need to have a long range. A road trip for me is just a normal commute for a trucker. But increasing the range and getting enough power aren’t really problems. Tesla has shown that already with their semi.

The problem is getting the weight down. Commercial trucks have a weight limit, so a heavier battery limits how much you can ship. But what if we don’t need a bigger battery? What if we could go further on a smaller battery? What if we could just charge on the road?

We are excited to wirelessly charge a long haul electric truck while driving on a public road for the first time ever. The results of the test are an important milestone for the project funded by the Swedish Transport Administration and for enabling electric mobility that is convenient, cost effective, and sustainable.

Oren Ezer, CEO of Electreon Wireless

The Smartroad Gotland project has shown this is possible. Back in November, they built an electric road with inductive charging coils inside. And tests have shown they can charge 45kW at 30km/h. They plan to continue tests working towards charging 125 kW at highway speeds.

Our take

Obviously, this is still at the very early stages of testing. It could be years before this technology is viable, and it may never actually see use in the real world. But if it does come it could make electric semi-trucks far more commercially viable. If shipping companies are able to install these wireless chargers along their routes they could use semis with very small, light batteries.

But it’s fun to dream of a future where these are installed everywhere for public use. Electric cars would essentially have infinite range. Gas-powered cars would actually be less convenient than EVs. I imagine this kind of wireless fast-charging probably isn’t the best for battery life, but I would hope in this idealistic future we’ve solved that problem.

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