As described by Honda in a paper by them published, ‘dynamic charging’ refers to a technology that enables simultaneous supplying of power and energy refuelling (in other words, charging) while driving. Theoretically, such kind of charging system (which Honda claims they have already developed and is now ready for testing) could give electric vehicles unlimited range. In its current version, the system is said to have a charging power of 180 kW (DC 600 V, 300 A) while driving a vehicle at the speed of 155 km/h.
The idea of an electric vehicle being charged continuously as it is being driven is appealing in a way because it eliminates the anxiety that its power might run out unexpectedly and leave one stranded in the middle of nowhere. However, it also brings to mind a lot of issues that might quickly turn the concept from promising to impractical.
For starters, there’s the cost of building the infrastructure which will most certainly be in the range of exorbitant. Just imagine miles and miles of road with built-in charging hardware. It makes no sense to put the charging system on a short road because for sure, it is those who need to travel long distances who will benefit from continuous charging, which means that such charging tracks will likely be on highways.
Once the system has been put in place, next comes the issue of maintenance.
Roads are hard enough to maintain as just plain roads. Sometimes, even simple pot holes take days before getting fixed. Think about how much harder it will be to maintain specialized ones.
And how about the oil companies? We can’t seriously believe that they will just sit by and let this happen without having anything to say (or do) about it.
There’s also the possible effect that an ‘electrified’ road will have on people. Think about it — using your cellphone while it’s being charged is being discouraged because of the risk it poses in terms of the possibility that an electrical current might pass through a person and cause harm or injury. And keep in mind, that power force is just a low one. The very idea that a driver will have to be directly over something that generates and supplies electrical power might instantly be a turnoff for some.
Still, it’s all speculation on our part right now. It’s only fair to way and see exactly what this dynamic charging system is all about before we criticize and judge that it will bring problems rather than solutions.
Honda plans to demonstrate their newly developed technology next month at the WCX 17 SAE World Congress Experience.