Why Can’t Electric Cars Charge Themselves While Driving?

There’s a bunch of news about how electric car charging methods are constantly being enhanced. Despite how frequently such anecdotes are told, they don’t accurately portray the reality of how the industry infrastructure or technology is way behind on self-charging EVs.

So let’s figure out the mystery: why can’t electric automobiles charge themselves?

Electric cars can’t self-charge because this technology doesn’t exist yet. The idea doesn’t have enough political support and there’s a lack of infrastructure. The previously mentioned political argument is relevant since insufficient political backing prevents funding for infrastructure improvements.

This article discusses how the lack of political support, infrastructure, and technology has caused a lag in the research and development process of self-charging technology and how they’re linked. 

Possible Self-Charging Electric Car Technologies

We must focus on the technological issues when addressing why electric automobiles can’t recharge. A few concepts and theories to build a self-charging EV are currently in their R&D phase. However, there’s no such technology available yet. 

These technologies are mentioned below, but they still need a lot of work to be implemented officially. 

Regenerative Braking

It’s undeniable that many hybrid-electric vehicles feature innovative technologies that allow them to recover energy while you drive. It’s a clever technology that transfers and stores electrical energy in the car’s battery by turning kinetic energy into usable electrical energy. 

The driver pushing the brake pedal causes the electric engine to convert to “generator mode rapidly.” During this mode, the wheels rotate to send power through the powertrain to the generator. This kinetic energy is partially caught and saved.

With regenerative braking, “part” of the energy rather than “all” is absorbed. It is an excellent technique to keep your automobile moving, especially when driving on busy roads and using brakes. 

However, the technology is not yet practical enough to allow the automobile to receive a full recharge.

Solar Charging

Another notion already in existence is the idea of solar panels being placed on the roof of a car to gather energy and keep charging simultaneously. 

The Lightyear One, created by a group of Dutch designers, was based on a prototype they had earlier used to produce a practical solar-powered vehicle. The Netherlands-based company has astonishingly evolved from its competition idea to a street-ready vehicle.

It has several solar panels, all of which are protected by safety glass and can self-charge at a rate of approx seven miles/hour while the cells are functioning.

This is adequate if you use your car for commuting or running errands every day, but it won’t work if you have more extensive travel plans or use your car for more.

So, in terms of self-charging, we have excellent ideas and are already moving in that direction, but there is still a lot of time left. 

Volkswagen Autonomous Robots For Passive Charging

Volkswagen’s theory is an innovative and exciting response to the demand for EV charging. This concept involves a tiny army of automated robots that can respond to commands through an app or V2X transmission

Once engaged, these robots would take off on their own to charge the automobile. They may be positioned in parking and other areas where they can quickly access cars and offer to charge them while you are at work or simply out for the day shopping.

Inductive Passive Charging

The idea of inductive charging has already gained traction in the realm of smartphones and other electronic goods. There are now also solutions that can do the same for your EV.   

The concept is to charge your vehicle using electromagnetic induction, which uses two coils:

  • One on your car’s exterior (receiver) 
  • One in the charging device (transmitter). 

Electricity flows between these coils, where it is caught and stored in the battery. 

The Lack Of Infrastructure

With the possibilities mentioned above, the infrastructure issue is seen as more significant when implementing the technology.

The primary issue is how to use this technology to upgrade our deteriorating national infrastructure, even though it does exist. It will have to take place gradually and certainly take several years to manifest. 

Here’s how it can appear using induction technology as an illustration:

Stage 1Application of technology at the individual household level. Since certain technologies are currently on the market, you may conclude that we have reached this stage.
Stage 2 Distribution of the equipment for installation in car parks across the nation without the need for significant road network interruptions or road closures.
Stage 3Expansion of the operation to the highway system, where roadways might have a whole lane or several lanes equipped with the technology, allowing automobiles to charge while driving along the highway.


Q. Isn’t Self-Charging Considered Regenerative Braking?

Technically speaking, self-charging includes regenerative braking. However, it is by no means powerful enough to recharge an electric motor completely.

Most critically, not much of the energy is captured during regenerative braking. It is inadequate to produce an actual self-charging vehicle.

Q. Is Wireless Charging A Viable Solution For The Future?

Before it could be implemented on significant roadways, the project would likely need another five to ten years. However, the Cornell University team thinks this would be the best car-charge method.

The cars will be charged at the same time they are being driven, preventing drivers from having to stop or risking a dead battery.

Final Thoughts 

The brightest minds in the automobile industry are developing the technology. However, it is doubtful that we will witness any regulatory reforms that will get us to the level of self-charging until the government approves.

Or maybe as technology advances, the public and governments will favor EVs more. Self-charging, however, remains unfeasible till then and we’ll just need to stick to conventional charging methods.

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