A Japanese university demonstrates remotely powered electric car

A team at the Toyohashi University of Technology unveiled a prototype electric vehicle that gets power wirelessly from a power transmission system buried under the road, in a demonstration presented to the news media.

The single-person electric vehicle was created by modifying Toyota Auto Body’s Coms electric car. It drove on a test track at the school in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, at a speed of around 10kph. The normal Coms is powered by a 120kg lead-acid storage battery, but the team, led by professor Takashi Ohira, has removed it to install a rectifier circuit.

The prototype vehicle gets power from a pair of electrodes under the track surface via steel belts inside the two front tires. The power transmission between the steel belts and the electrodes is achieved by using a displacement current at high frequency, which is converted into a direct current by the rectifier circuit. A 5kW current was supplied at a frequency of 13.56 megahertz.

According to Ohira, who heads the university’s research center for future vehicles, this is the world’s first known successful test of a manned electric vehicle that does not have a battery. The team will continue to work toward improving driving performance, power transmission efficiency and safety.

“We want to start conducting road tests by 2022,” Ohira said, adding that the team hopes to work together with toll highway operators to enable such tests.

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