Cooperation with Israeli startup ElectRoad in setting aside a public transportation lane for electric buses in Tel Aviv based on wireless recharging through the road was announced two months ago. The technology makes charging at special charging stations unnecessary.
Up until now, the company has demonstrated its technology only on a 25-meter route on its site in Caesarea. ElectRoad's technological performance was good enough, however, to gain a $120,000 grant for the company from the Ministry of Transport for installing the technology on part of the bus lane in Tel Aviv.
The technology will be installed on an 800-meter stretch of road slated to be opened in 2018. If everything goes according to plan, the government plans to deploy the technology more extensively, initially along the 18-kilometer road between Eilat and Ramon International Airport.
ElectRoad says that the cost of building the infrastructure in Tel Aviv will be shared by the Ministry of Transport, the Tel Aviv municipality, and the company. It sounds good, but as the batteries for electric cars become cheaper, lighter, and more efficient, ElectRoad's technology might become less important. Actually, engineering and chemical breakthroughs have made the batteries much more economical over the past 15 years.
ElectRoad, which is aware of this problem, explains that its technology is not designed for individual vehicles; it consists of extensive infrastructure that will be able to serve entire cities in the future, thereby leading to cost-saving on a large scale. With time, the company also hopes to make its charging technology two-directional, so that in addition to using the road to recharge buses, its technology will be able to utilize the energy generated when vehicles' brakes are used.
ElectRoad believes that electric buses are only the beginning of a revolution in the entire transportation sector. Will the company's vision be realized, and will its technology develop into real infrastructure that is economically worthwhile? Only time will tell.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 9, 2017
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