This Japanese city is piloting EV wireless charging at traffic lights

A city near Tokyo is the first in Japan to test wireless charging for EVs – and the chargers are in front of traffic lights.

Wireless charging for EVs at traffic lights

The pilot is being run in Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City by the Universities of Tokyo and Chiba, along with nine companies, including tire maker Bridgestone and auto parts makers NSK and Denso. (Kashiwa Smart City is named that because it’s a model city for intelligent transport system experiments.)

The University of Tokyo created the in-motion power supply system, and now the researchers want to test its durability and ability to consistently charge for EVs and plug-in hybrids driving over it.

Precast charging coils are embedded into the road’s surface in front of traffic lights. A current only passes through the wireless chargers when a vehicle is detected. EVs and PHEVs that have special devices installed near the tires to receive the electricity get a charge when they slow down – 10 seconds of rolling over the coils provides about 1 km (0.6 miles) of range.

The University of Tokyo says the demonstration experiment will be conducted from October to March 10 under the direction of the Ministry of Transport.

Electrek’s Take

Will this pilot turn slow traffic and stopping at a red light into something EV drivers are happy about?

A minute = 6 km of range. Now, that’s not exactly going to do much for someone on a road trip, but if wireless chargers were installed at every traffic light, this could be beneficial for EV drivers who drive locally a lot.

While home EV chargers are, IMHO, the best way to charge up, not everyone has that option, and apartment dwelling is the norm in the Tokyo metropolitan area. So if someone who lived in Kashiwa regularly zipped around the city in a small, light EV, then I could see how being wirelessly charged at stoplights could be beneficial. At any rate, isn’t the point of pilots to see whether an idea will work IRL? I’m intrigued to see their findings.

What do you think about the Kashiwa wireless charging experiment? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more: This new EV charging station drives around airport tarmacs

Photo: くろふね, CC BY 3.0

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