An electric car that gets a charge just by driving down the road?
It may sound impossible, but it could happen in the not too distant future thanks to a project at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratories.
"We're developing this to the point where it's so convenient, we wouldn't think about it," said John Miller, a researcher with ORNL.
Using an Electric GEM car, that gets about 30 miles between each time it needs to be plugged in, a team of scientists are looking into alternatives in charging these vehicles.
"Wireless charging instead of using a plug in or a cable is very convenient," Miller added.
Since 2008, researchers have been working on the science of wirelessly charging electric cars, using foot-wide circular magnets. Those magnets would wirelessly give a car, with a similar magnet attached, a charge in power.
"We get the power to run these from renewable from solar and wind provide the power for this, and then that is what we use for transportation, instead of having carbon emissions. That's where we're headed," Miller added.
ORNL received $11 million from the Department of Energy to research this technology. Researchers said they want to put these magnets in garages and parking lots at first. In long term, have those magnets embedded in the roadways.
"Having the electric car, like this one here, been able to go unlimited distance, not need a great big battery, because you get your power from the road as you are going," he said.
While this technology is a few years away, Miller expects this study to change the face of electric cars. He says in the end, it's all about convenience for the consumer.
"Do this while you are commuting... So not having the hassle of plugging in ... And doing the charging of your car, while you are going," Miller commented.
Researchers say consumers could begin to see wireless charging stations within the next decade.