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Electric Tri-State? Illinois Tollway looks at embedding charging equipment in I-294

4539 Views 32 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  DMC5180
The Illinois Tollway is examining the possibility of embedding equipment into I-294 that would charge electric vehicles as they drive along the road.
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It's good that they are looking at this but it's premature. You can't start building this into highways until there is a single world wide standard and that's a long way off. I've been on standards bodies, I was on two JEDEC committees in the late 70s, and even very simple things can derail a standard because no company wants to give another company an advantage. In the case of a standard like this it's going to be very hard. First the research hasn't been completed yet, but even if it was you have the problem of different patent holders wanting to maximize their return. Then you have the really important problem of getting it right for the long term. Once you build out infrastructure you can't change a standard, ever. Your LED light bulb screws into an Edison socket that was introduced in the 19th century, it can't be changed because every lamp in your house uses that socket.

Bottom line is that there won't be a highway charging standard for 10 or 15 years and by then it won't matter. If you assume that there will be no breakthroughs in batteries just the gradual improvement of 2X per decade that we've seen over the last 20 years then cars still get to the point where they won't need much on trip charging. If you assume that the base range of EVs 10 years from now is 400 miles than you might never charge them away from home. The only on trip charging you will need will be on superhighways and in 10 years you can assume that every highway will have more than enough coverage. Tesla is almost there already, in 10 years CCS will surely have excellent coverage on every highway.
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The more I think about it the sillier I think the idea of putting wireless charging into roads is. The time to have done it was a hundred years ago before there were any roads. The infrastructure was already in place, there were electric trolley lines that connected every town that were going out of business because of the Model T, if those lines had been converted to electric roads before all of the electric car companies had gone out of business we would have third rails or catenaries over our interstates today and we would have all been driving EVs for the last century. But it's too late now, the cost of electrifying the interstates with wireless charging would probably cost a trillion dollars which we don't have, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of decrepit bridges that need fixing first. Installing fast chargers at rest stops is many orders of magnitude cheaper and it doesn't require any new inventions, the technology is here and it's already being deployed. Batteries are already good enough, although not cheap enough, to cover 98% of most peoples driving without fast chargers, and putting fast chargers at existing rest stops covers the rest. Since this is the Illinois toll road we are talking about, Chicago to Milwaukee is about a hundred miles, you could do that round trip without recharging in a Model 3 easily, you could even do it in a Bolt if you were careful, and certainly if you had just a little bit of destination charging. Putting a couple of fast chargers on the highway would completely solve that problem.
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But just imagine how much construction companies can charge to build and install the equipment for this test study, all coming from those wonderful barely accountable tax payer dollars...

Especially in Illinois. When I was in college in the 1970s there was an expression in Wisconsin, Illinois is 6 inches lower than Wisconsin. This was apropos of one of Illinois's many many scandals where Illinois had paid for concrete that was never delivered.

Two convicts are standing in the chow line, one says to the other, the food was better when you were governor.
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