The unveiling on Friday was in the form of a test drive in Toyohashi, in the Aichi Prefecture. The small vehicle moved over the electrified surface, which had two rail-like steel paths spaced to match the car’s special tires. The charge is derived from steel wires embedded in them, which serve as a conduit.
The drive lasted for 30 meters at a speed of 10km/h, and, according to Professor Takashi Ohira, as cited by Kyodo: “Acceleration was smooth, and the ride was comfortable.”
Electric cars are beginning to experience a rise in popularity, so it’ll be a while until fair comparisons to their traditional counterparts can truly be made. However, where others currently fail, the Toyohashi/Taisei Corp. vehicle excels: it can drive long distances without the battery expiring, so running out of juice is never an issue.
The downside is, of course, that the new vehicle can only run on special roads – and who knows when that technology will truly takes off worldwide.
However, Ohira says it’s not a matter of changing entire roads, rather fitting existing ones with the new technology. Apparently, the new EV will have a battery for those situations where an electrified road isn’t around. In future Ohira hopes to “reduce the size of batteries for non-expressway driving.”
It is not clear at this point when the university and Taisei envision the new cars and roads will take off in earnest.