Autobahn’s upcoming wireless EV charging isn’t for you

As we move towards an EV-dominated future, efforts to introduce wireless charging systems to the road are increasing.

Now, Germany’s famous Autobahn will welcome its own wireless charging system — though it won’t be available to individual EV drivers. Instead, it will power a public bus that will transport passengers to the town of Balingen.

The technology will be provided by Israeli wireless charging company Electreon, which will partner with Germany’s EnBW — an EV charging infrastructure provider — to implement the project.

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Electreon will deploy 1 kilometer of Electric Road System (ERS) along a section of the Autobahn, providing dynamic wireless charging while the bus is in motion. This will be accompanied by two static charging stations placed at stops along the bus route.

The project consists of two phases: first, the development of a 400-meter track with two static charging stations. Second, the extension of the electric road by another 600 meters.

Notably, this venture follows a successful pilot by the two companies in the German city of Karlsruhe. An electrified road was installed at EnBW’s training center, feeding a local public bus during peak hours.

“We have already shown in our Karlsruhe joint project with EnBW how efficient, safe and easy to deploy wireless dynamic charging is. We hope this is the start of many more projects on public and private roads in Germany,” said Dr. Andreas Wendt, CEO of Electreon Germany, in the press release.

The Israeli company has also carried out on-road wireless charging projects in Italy and Sweden.

But although Electreon and several US-based companies are testing the technology, only a handful of European companies are active in the field. These include Italy’s Enermove, Germany’s Magment and Sweden’s Elonroad.

Wireless charging on the road could play a key role in eliminating range stress and the hassle of long charging times at stations. This, in turn, will facilitate the transition to electric vehicles.

On the other hand, it requires a huge change (and investment) in the infrastructure, which, by the time it is implemented, may prove obsolete as a result of technological advances in conventional charging stations. Perhaps, the European industry is taking a wait-and-see approach before shelling out all that cash.

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