Students at Germany's Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences have created a little marvel, albeit one that probably won't become the typical mode of transportation anytime soon.
The E-Quickie electric car is the first car I've seen to be powered by induction, the same wireless charging protocol that's behind wireless gadget chargers like the Powermat and Case-Mate Hug. There are some major caveats to the project, but also some major benefits.
First of all, the car theoretically doesn't need any batteries at all, since it's continually powered by the road itself. The E-Quickie does pack a battery for driving off the necessary road (more on that in a bit) into garages and that kind of thing, but since the car doesn't rely on that battery for power, it's positively tiny compared to the monstrous batteries in normal electric cars.
That lack of battery also helps keep the car's weight down--and I mean way down. The three-wheeled, carbon fiber E-Quickie weighs only 132 pounds, and the team is confident that with more time they could carve that down even further to a featherweight 88 pounds.
But despite all that, the E-Quickie isn't really a competitor to the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt. The main problem with the induction method of power is that it requires electric conducting paths in the ground, which communicate with sensors on the underside of the car. The E-Quickie won't just ride on any road, it needs a highly customized and extremely expensive surface before it'll run. It's highly unlikely that any country would outfit its infrastructure with induction roads to make cars like the E-Quickie operational.
Besides, the car only runs about 31mph, which while quite impressive for a 132-pound student project is a bit slow for regular use. So we may not ever see the E-Quickie out on the road, but it's still a really cool achievement. So what do you say? Should we get started on induction roads?
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com