Roads to make electricity from passing cars

Embedded crystals give off a charge when driven over

Future car

Last week we brought you news that some rather inventive engineers are harnessing the power of our footsteps to make electricity and this week it's the turn of our cars to do the same trick.

According to green insurer and lobby group Environmental Transport Association (ETA), the roads it is working on with an Israeli company could generate their own electricity from the motion of cars.

Compression effect

The special asphalt used in the project contains millions of crystals that give off a charge when compressed by a vehicle passing over them. The net result of which is a surface that converts kinetic energy into electricity.

ETA chief Andrew Davis spells out the possibilities: "It may be that roads themselves will provide some of the new fuel - certain vehicles could be powered entirely by the roads on which they drive."

Circular motion

Next month will see the first test of a surface that can produce up to 400kW per kilometre or, to put it another way, enough to run eight electric cars just from that length of road.