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Electric roads could power cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Monday, June 16, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

One of the biggest disadvantages of electric cars is that their driving range is less than that of a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle -- 75 miles to 100 miles for the typical electric car -- and now Volvo may have a method for "refueling" on the go.

In a collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration, Volvo is studying building an electric road that can recharge electric vehicles. A test road may be built in central Gothenburg next year alongside a bus line, and city buses can be charged from the electricity in the road at the same time as the bus is in operation. To build the electric road, an electric grid would be built into the road and the energy would be transferred wirelessly to the underside of the vehicle through a process called inductive charging.

"Vehicles capable of being charged directly from the road during operation could become the next pioneering step in the development towards reduced environmental impact, and this is fully in line with our vision of becoming the world leader in sustainable transport solutions," said Niklas Gustavsson, executive vice president, Corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs of the Volvo Group.

The electric road is the next step in Volvo's plans of creating a city bus system that is more environmentally friendly. Currently, Volvo has three plug-in hybrid buses in operation in a project called "HyperBus," which recharge when they reach the end of their bus line. The next stage is to recharge while in operation so they can increase the distance they can travel on electricity.

Not sure if an electric car is right for you? You might be surprised. Read The pros and cons of electric cars.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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