Electric cars have one major drawback: Who wants to stop to charge while on a long trip? This week a Toyota RAV4 Prime made it travel more than 1,200 miles in electric mode without stopping to recharge, electric road startup Electreon has announced. But that’s not because of the SUV itself—it’s because of the road.
The record was set on the company’s 200m demonstration track, which features a wireless charger installed under the asphalt 25% of the way. The company says the platform provides “infinite range” for any EV and supports multiple users, from small cars to large trucks.
56 pilots participated in the race, one of which was the Israeli racer Bar Baruch. The result set a world record for the longest time and distance ever driven by a passenger EV. The Toyota RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid model, not a full EV, but the gas engine never kicked in during the 1,200-mile drive because the SUV’s battery remained charged.
According to the US Department of Energy, the average all-electric vehicle can travel between 100 and 400 miles on a single charge, and plug-in hybrid vehicles can typically travel 15-50 miles per hour on battery power alone before the engine kicks in.
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“This milestone proves that Electreon’s wireless charging technology effectively addresses two key challenges in the EV transition: concerns about range and battery size,” the company said. “It eliminates range anxiety, enabling endless driving and demonstrates that even a compact 18kWh battery size is no longer a limiting factor in EV adoption.”
The vehicle stopped only momentarily to change drivers without turning off its engine and never for special refueling. Its 18kWh battery never died and was continuously charged from the electric road while driving.
“By eliminating the need for large batteries, (the technology) not only reduces EV total cost of ownership and environmental impact, but also offers the unparalleled benefit of extended, if not unlimited, range,” the company said.
Electreon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how fast the vehicle can go while still charging. A 100-hour drive covering 1,200 miles would average only 12 mph; however, Oren Ezer, CEO and co-founder of Electreon, told Insider that the car lapped the track at about 30 miles per hour.
The company has prototyped a 1,900-foot road in its home country of Israel, with projects in development in Sweden, Italy and Germany, Jalopnik reports.
This could be a sign of what’s to come for EVs in the future, beyond the nationwide network of EV charging stations that’s on the way: Electreon plans to install its technology on a one-mile stretch of road in Detroit this summer, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation. A similar project is planned for Utah, where the company has already successfully installed a 164-foot test track.
If you’re looking to switch to a cleaner, greener car and save money at the gas station, here are CNET’s picks for the best electric cars of 2023 and the best hybrid cars.