Starting next year, Volvo will install a section of electrified roadway in Sweden that will wirelessly recharge a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid bus. The study is aimed at seeing if there’s any benefit to electrifying longer stretches of road with wireless charging systems…potentially eliminating the need to plug in at all.
The plan is to install between 300 and 500 meters of roadway in central Gothenberg, Sweden, where a trio of Volvo’s Hyper Bus diesel-electric hybrids have been operating. As it stands, these buses plug into charging stations at the end of each route to refill, and even though the fast-charging system takes just 5 to 8 minutes to top off the battery packs, that’s time not spent shuttling passengers around.
An inductive charging system (as they’re technically known) would allow the buses to recharge on the fly as their route takes them over a certain section of road. Volvo has been experimenting with a stationary wireless recharging system utilizing a C30 sedan, but this on-the-fly charging system is something different entirely. No need to stop and refill at the end of each route, making the charging seamless and simple. No plugs, no downtime, and a clever new name for the new bus line; “ElectriCity”.
Inductive charging could be a game changer for electric vehicles, allowing them to wireless recharge without the need to ever plug in. Imagine fully-electrified highways driven by autonomous electric cars that can drive from one end of the country to the other without ever having to stop to refuel. Such an idea once sounded like a fanciful flight of science fiction, but these days it seems more possible than ever before.
It’s hard not to love the future.