With the advancement of technology that we have seen in recent times, we are knocking on the door of entry into a new world where everything is “smart”. Smart road means where commuters do not have any difficulty in travelling. India must take a leaf from China’s book if it is serious about realising its electric-vehicles (EVs) vision.
Solar panels, mapping sensors and battery rechargers have been embedded into a 1.08 km stretch of the road in Jinan in eastern China over which 45,000 vehicles run every day. The solar panels, which had been supplying power to light the highway and some 800 homes, will soon be used to recharge EVs. With China looking to ensure 10 per cent of all cars are EVs by 2030, the public sector company that built the stretch sees a plethora of opportunities – better traffic updates, accurate mapping and on-the-go recharging.
The Jinan stretch has three layers with a transparent shell that lets sunlight reach the solar panels. The top layer is also equipped to let recharging wires and has sensors that monitor temperature, traffic flow and weight.
The road, built at a cost of $6.5 million, is estimated to have a lifespan of 15 years, which means it will last as long as the conventional asphalt road. Plans for the test road’s future involve wireless recharging, though there aren’t many cars in China that are equipped for wireless recharging.