High gas prices are changing the way people live and commute, pushing more and more Americans (myself, included!) to ride the rails. Sometimes, though, we still need to actually drive somewhere – and that’s a problem for EV and alt-fuel enthusiasts who live in suburban apartments.
Why? Because suburban apartment communities are usually none-too happy about you installing EV charging stations into their parking lots.
So, what’s a rail-commuting EV owner to do? Simple: plug the car in to the train!
That last line might not seem so silly in the near future. In fact, the managers of Spain’s railway infrastructure (the ADIF, for Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias) have already pulled off a bit of a coup in electric vehicle charging tech when, a few days ago, a group of engineers succeeded in converting the kinetic energy produced by the the ADIF’s commuter trains under braking to charge electric cars. The “proof-of-concept” demonstration took place May 23rd, fully charging a Th!nk City car using only electricity generated by the train’s brakes.
The demonstration was a joint project by the ADIF and Going Green, and is part of a proposal for large-scale implementation that has been submitted to INNPACTO, a grant program funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Tech ideas like this are so obviously brilliant that you want to kick yourself for not thinking of it first (I do, anyway), and great news for anyone who wants an EV but lacks access to at-home charging. If this technology becomes wide-spread in the US, you could drive your EV to the train station, plug it in, and come home from work to a fully-charged EV, ready for an afternoon grocery run and night on the town.
Once the INNPACTO grant is approved, the ADIF could begin installing braking-powered EV chargers at commuter parking facilities as early as next year.