Israeli start-up on track for ‘smart roads’ project in Italy

Israeli start-up ElectReon, which specializes in wireless technologies for “smart roads”, whose technology is integrated into roads that recharge the batteries of electric vehicles as they drive downhill. these, are in the process of designing a pathway for shuttles and service vehicles at Bergamo Airport, northwest of Milan, Italy, according to a company statement.

The project was completed on Friday at an event that officially launched the one -kilometer electric road system (ERS) being evaluated by Electreon in Brescia, northern Italy, since November 2020.

The launch was attended by Italian ministers as well as senior executives from automotive, infrastructure and technology companies.

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Bergamo Airport staff will review their prototype vehicles, called the ‘Arena of the Future’, and if everything goes according to plan, the airport will move towards a commercial agreement with ElectReon to create a de- electric route on the airport tarmac.

According to a press release from Electreon, luxury car company Maserati also said it wants to test its electric vehicles at the Arena, with the goal of getting the technology to its factories.

The prototype was made following the signing, in October 2020, of a memorandum of understanding between ElectReon and Italian toll road infrastructure company Societa ‘di Progetto Brebemi SpA. The goal of the MoU is to integrate Electreon’s wireless electric road system into infrastructure projects in Italy.

Ribbon cutting for the official opening of Arena of the Future, a prototype road for electric charging made in Brescia, northern Italy, by Israeli start-up ElectReon. (Credit: ElectrReon)

At the event on Friday, Francesco Bettoni, director of the holding company that manages the A35 toll motorway, known as BreBeMi, outlined the company’s vision about integrating Electreon technology into a section of road that connects Bergamo to Turin.

Solar panels must be installed along the road to power the system in a flexible way.

“Europe has clearly stated its goals for the transition to sustainable transport. We are ready for the commercial technology phase of the Future Arena,” Bettoni said.

“I am happy to say that this technology is attracting great interest and we are receiving requests from many local authorities who want to incorporate this technology into intercity roads,” he added.

Aimed to reduce air pollution, the “smart road” eliminates the need for charging stations. According to the Electreon website, a system of copper coils laid under the asphalt to transfer energy from the electrical grid to the road and manage communication with oncoming vehicles. Receivers are placed on the floor of vehicles to send power directly to the engine and battery while the vehicles are moving, eliminating problems with limited range and short battery life. Communication with all management units and registered vehicles takes place by cloud technology.

The system allows electric buses to be equipped with smaller batteries, providing more space for passengers, using existing roads and saving time because vehicles no longer have to stop for charge or fill.

An electric bus and an electric Fiat 500 tested the circuit of the “Arene of the Future”, a prototype “smart road” made in Brescia, northern Italy, by Israeli start-up ElectReon. (Credit: ElectrReon)

At the event on Friday, the electric Fiat 500 started spinning the track at a speed of 84 km/h on 22% charged battery and finished with 48% charge.

An IVECO bus traveling up to 60 km/h with increased load also ended up.

ElectrReon has many projects in Europe and the United States.

In Israel, it has expanded its partnership with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and bus company Dan, for the large-scale commercial deployment of its wireless charging infrastructure to enable electric buses in Tel Aviv.

Last year, ElectReon was one of four Israeli companies on the magazine’s annual ‘100 Best Inventions’ list. TIME.

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