Japan tests wireless EV charging on public roads


Author: Mankirat Kaur

A city near Tokyo has initiated the first-ever road test in Japan for wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging while driving.

Kashiwa, in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, Bridgestone, NSK, Denso, Mitsui Fudosan, and Chiba University, has embedded charging coils in the road surface near traffic signals, allowing EVs to recharge wirelessly while in motion.

The technology, reminiscent of wireless smartphone charging, activates the chargers in the road only upon detecting a vehicle, applying electrical current to provide approximately 1 km of range with just 10 seconds of contact with the charging coils. This innovative approach aims to address the challenge of limited charging stations and supports both fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The road test, scheduled until March 2025, will comprehensively evaluate safety, durability, and other aspects of this wireless charging system. Kashiwa's ambitious vision includes the deployment of automated shuttle buses with in-road charging capabilities by 2030, marking a significant step towards smart city development.

Beyond the immediate benefits of convenient charging, this wireless EV charging technology could potentially revolutionise EV infrastructure. Electrified roads have the potential to reduce the reliance on extensive battery capacity, leading to lighter vehicles and addressing concerns about future battery shortages amid the growing demand for electric vehicles. Kashiwa's commitment to mobility experiments reflects a broader effort to accelerate the adoption of intelligent transport solutions and contribute to a more sustainable and efficient future for electric vehicles.