Electroroad, revolutionising public transport
Among the large number of startups present at Cleantech Forum in 2016, one venture particularly stood out – Electroad, an Israeli startup that aims to make us reconsider our concept of electricity-based public transportation.
The size of battery needed to power a bus would take up a huge amount of space, would weigh one-third as much as the bus itself and would cost half the price of the vehicle. Imagine for a moment that we can power an electric bus using the road itself. This is the basic concept behind Electroad. The electrical energy is supplied by the national grid, fed to a transmitter, located 8 cm below the road, which in turn wirelessly transmits power to a receiver which then feeds the motor.
The road surface must therefore have a strip with which the bus maintains contact. It is this strip which supplies the bus with energy. Why is this method more interesting than having charging systems at stops, for example?
The main advantage of the system is that it is extremely easy to install as, in just one day’s work, teams can install a linear kilometre strip. It is therefore entirely feasible to undertake a city-wide installation in only a few months, unlike tram lines, which can take several years before being ready to use.
Should the system fail or the bus be diverted off the Electroad, there is no need for passengers to panic as each bus will have an emergency autonomous battery capable of driving for a further 25 km, therefore ensuring that the bus can join the nearest depot smoothly and without incident.
It is easy to imagine how such a system could be implemented in cities, especially as the company claim that customers will see a return on their investment in less than 4 years. The company further claim that the financial savings are considerable, with the Electroad bus being 70% cheaper to run than a diesel vehicle, and 50 % cheaper than traditional electrical systems. An additional advantage is that if the bus runs downhill, it is also possible to take advantage of the kinetic energy to feed electricity back into the grid.
For now, the project is under development and the first test is underway in Tel Aviv. The company hopes to begin a pilot phase on the scale of a European city in the third quarter of 2018.