Charge while on the road

Charge while on the road

Just found a swedish company that is developing a way to recharge your EV while you drive. The idea is that an electrified rail is submerged in the road, preferably in highways or other bigger roads. When driving on the road the EV will detect the rail and connect to it, recharging the battery while you drive.

The technique is currently being tested and so far it has been succesful. The system is capable of dealing with snow, ice, rocks and other object that might fall on the road. According to the companys research, the cost of building the rails is low enough to let EVs compete ICEVs on longer trips.

The cost of building the rail is about a million dollars/mile. Might sound a lot but pays off in the long term


(It is unfortunately just in swedish)

rlarno | 9 aprile 2013

For english:

Hmmm, interesting to see there is yet another alternative (choice is good). Although progress seems to have stopped on the website there are some interesting links and articles. Anyway, Inductive charging holds more promise, I believe even though the costs would be higher.

Roadster | 9 aprile 2013

Thank you for finding the link to the english version.

I too realize that charging the battery through a physical link to the rail is not ideal and problems with objects clogging the opening to where the rail might occur. I guess further testing will show if it could work or not.

However, using a solution that cost 3-4 times as much and is less energy efficient is not an option for me. I also think the strong magnetic fields required for inductive charging could affect for example pacemakers and other electronical devices. Not sure about that though.

In South Korea they are testing inductive charging. Perhaps they have found a cheaper way to make it work.

basti1 | 9 aprile 2013

Hi! I wanted to know how it is possible that tesla can offer free supercharger stations. The 2000 USD fee required covers only 125 charges, way less than an average costumer will charge over the years.

(80kwh*0,20c/kwh)=16 USD per charge

2000/16=125 charges. In europe electricity costs 0,40c/kwh, resulting in only 62,5 chrges. So will this seal tesla's bankrupcy in a few years?

Teslation | 9 aprile 2013


Suppose all cars are EV's how much would it cost to charge millions of EV cars? Who will pay the electric fees?

Perhaps one good use of such a system is for congested cities, London etc. Don't want BEV's running out of juice during rush hour, or stopping and taking up parking spaces getting a charge.

ian | 9 aprile 2013

@basti1 - How much have you actually learned about the Supercharging Network?

Watch this... and then do some more reading.

1) The Supercharger Network is intended to be used ONLY for long distance trips. Not everyday charging. You don't need it everyday because you're charging at home and have a full battery every morning for your daily commute.

2) The electricity used by the network will (sometime in the future, not necessarily all at once) be offset by electricity gathered with solar installations (both off site and at each SC site).


Brian H | 9 aprile 2013

Tesla does not pay for the electricity. It uses a sister company, Solar City, also owned in part by Elon Musk, to handle all the power. Solar City buys the power used from utilities, and sets up arrays at stations or nearby to generate even more power than is used (over the course of a year) and sells it under FIT arrangements back to the utilities, and makes a profit. It will extend this model world-wide, and all MS owners will benefit forever with no-fee power for intercity travel.

Noah.S | 9 aprile 2013

Busses seem like a good application for inductive charging. Put the spots in a few points along the route where they're stopped, and it would work.

They're running a pilot project in Germany.

ghillair | 9 aprile 2013

This will work for buses in the city.

For over the road in the US it is just too expensive. As the OP said it is only $1,000,000 per mile. I am pretty sure that is per lane mile. With the US interstate having 45,000 miles of minimum two lanes in each direction any more lanes in many areas that is over 200,000 lane miles just for the interstate highways. That is $200,000,000,000.

Then you have to do all the other major roads that are more miles than the interstate.

Brian H | 9 aprile 2013

Wouldn't involve all, or most "miles", just designated charging segments of designated roads.

Roadster | 10 aprile 2013

@ Tesluthian

Elways suggests that the car will have an electric meter just like most houses. The person using the electicity would be the one paying for it. I agree that the main use should be in the cities. Since you move slower less rail would have to be built.

@ ghillair

As Brian says, it would not be everywhere. And it is no piont in putting rails on every lane, just one lane in each direction.

Perhaps superchargers is the better solution in between cities, but they are currently only available for Teslas. Electrified rail could be a solution for all EVs

ghillair | 10 aprile 2013

In the city is not a problem. You charge at home and/or you charge at work, no need for anything more. It is on the road that range is an issue.

Wireless charging when parked maybe an alternative that makes sense.

On the road you need Tesla twin chargers working at full capacity to maintain 60 mph, so either the entire highways needs charging capabilities or you run out of charge.

What is needed is higher capacity batteries and faster charging, Tesla is well on the way and more is coming. Other EVs just need to catch up.

As to the electric buses, I am old enough to remember electric "buses", we called them streetcars.

Brian H | 10 aprile 2013

We still have many electric buses here in Vancouver, and there are a few experimental hybrid buses, running mostly on battery, on the roads. Don't know how well they're performing.

TeslaRocks | 10 aprile 2013

This video was in the bar on the right on YouTube and I immediately thought of the people who keep arguing for perpetual motion machines on the model S (wind turbine in the frunk, regenerative driving). Check out the amazing performance they get on here (and they seem like experts). For those who are wondering, the speed is a result of the initial push and whatever cross wind the turbine intercepts, like a sail.

Windturbinerace 2009

Brian, you're from Vancouver? I was wondering where you were from, figured it was somewhere north. I'm in/from Ottawa. Our bus system recently "scrapped" the hybrid buses they had bought to convert them to pure diesel because they didn't live up to expectations. Full electric or don't bother, I think is the answer. Otherwise, hybrids start to resemble turbines-in-the-frunk kind of ideas, too many systems and too complicated. The simplest machine is usually the best.

basti1 | 12 aprile 2013

goneskiian and Brian H, Thanks for your comments!

"The Supercharger Network is intended to be used ONLY for long distance trips."

Well is there a physical obstacle when you try to constantly fill up on the supercharger? After all, people dont care about battery life when they lease a model s and get a guaranteed resale value.

"The electricity used by the network will (sometime in the future, not necessarily all at once) be offset by electricity gathered with solar installations (both off site and at each SC site)."
"Tesla does not pay for the electricity. Solar City buys the power used from utilities, and sets up arrays at stations or nearby to generate even more power than is used (over the course of a year)"

Well, every supercharger draws 90KW, so assuming there are 2000 Superchargers all over the US, we will constantly draw 180MW of power (full utilization). So we will need at least twice of this power to cover day AND night. Thats a 360MW plant. Plus margin we need when its rainy: 400MW. Good luck with that. 3$ per watt costs a PV plant at least! Thats 1.2 to 1.5 BILLION! Sorry guys...but it seems this concept just doesnt work out. Maybe earn money by shorting the shares?

Brian H | 12 aprile 2013

The SCs will be located generally distant from major cities, and will require several hours to reach, use, and return from for each fill-up. Unless owners value their time very cheaply, even those living nearer won't bother. Their true value is not "free" power, but speed and placement for travelers. Those are the ones who need them.

Your # of superchargers is high by almost an order of magnitude (even counting several units per station) and the power supplied to the utilities is averaged over a year; you can't assume "constant" draw. Solar City is much better at this arithmetic than you.

basti1 | 12 aprile 2013

"Solar City is much better at this arithmetic than you." You are sooo right! Those people at tesla and solar city are surely doing a great job and know way more than I do. I just had this thought and wanted to express it. Placing charging stations away from dense populated areas is a good solution. I'm sure they know what they do. But still, I see a risk long term. And I think if tesla wants to become a "gas station" provider for their and maybe other cars, they will have to set up a "Hypercharger Network", which charges you for every KWH.

Have a nice day everyone! GO TESLA!

TeslaRocks | 12 aprile 2013

basti1, I think the solution to that risk, and also a great opportunity, is regarding restaurants and other shopping space near superchargers. Tesla decides where superchargers will go, so they can buy virtually any piece of land that is fairly close to the highway, could easily get a very excellent price on that land since there need not be anything around except for a power line and a road, roughly speaking. Then the SC will draw a lot of traffic, so whether it is Tesla operated, leased, licensed, or franchised (or whatever, like we care as long as Tesla gets regular income from it), the place will get what it might get normally, plus the SC traffic that is captive and has 30 minutes to an hour to spend anyway and might be hungry, or might become once they smell the food. Reminds me, did you ever wonder if the fairly tempting smell near many restaurants is accidental or intentional? Anyways, if the place has any kind of Tesla or Tesla-related branding on it, you can expect support from Tesla drivers to increase even further, because many or most believe in the cause and that might carry for quite some time. One final thought: although junk food is all the rage, I think that a Tesla restaurant should offer at least some fairly healthy meal options, in order to be consistent with the Tesla message or ethos of sanity, health, and performance. That doesn't mean some old favourites couldn't be offered. Anyways, I heard Elon like kale.

Roadster | 15 aprile 2013

Brian has alredy mentioned it, but I just want to say that I can´t really see why people would drive to a SC (be it near a city or not) and just sit on their asses waiting for their car to fill up. Not when they could just plug in at home and have their car ready by the next morning. Of course you should not put SCs to convinient for potential everyday users, for example near supermarkets, but I think the risk of people using SCs the wrong way enough to make it a problem is minimal.

nwdiver93 | 15 aprile 2013


Have you been to the Gilroy SC? Half the people I met there use it as their SOLE source of charging.

Roadster | 15 aprile 2013

I have not been to the Gilroy SC, so I do not know what it looks like there. But as I said, SCs should not be placed to convenient for everyday charging. Perhaps that is the case here. Or perhaps people are not not as stressed as I think they are and will happily wait for an hour just to get free electicity. In that case we might have a problem.

Brian H | 15 aprile 2013

Probably novelty value, in part. If lineups arise, the time-cost of relying on Gilroy will spike, and home-charging will be more attractive.