Ford thinks it can charge your car whilst you're on the motorway
The car giant has filed a patent for a system that can charge an EV whilst it's being towed!
Whilst the useability of electric vehicles is increasing year on year, there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome when it comes to the charging infrastructure. Even though a lot of investment by both private companies and the governments of multiple countries is being poured into improving things, there are still very noticeable gaps in the coverage of electric vehicle chargers. As a result, manufacturers themselves are trying to find ways to help bridge the gap. Some of those ways are a bit more unusual than most. A prime example of this is a patent Ford has filed recently where the company is trying to invent a system where an electric vehicle can be charged whilst it's being towed!
This rather bizarre method would allow an electric Ford, such as the somewhat controversial Mustang Mach-E or the newly-unveiled F150 Lightning pickup truck, to slot into a towing position behind a vehicle. Whilst this would likely be a large vehicle such as an articulated lorry, the patent suggests that "a passenger car having appropriate performance features" could be used as well. Once it's in that towing position, the vehicle can be charged via a process that's pretty much the same as regenerative braking where the motors become a dynamo to feed power back into the batteries. The patent also suggests that the level of regeneration would have to change or even cease completely depending on the speed of the towing vehicle or whether it's going up or down a hill.
Interestingly, the patent also suggests that vehicles used for the purpose of charging up electric cars in this way could be linked via Bluetooth or the internet. This could be used for anything from sharing data to linking up a towing vehicle that's already on the move with an EV that's in need of charge. This could essentially create nationwide networks of roving car chargers, ready and waiting to charge up EVs out on the open road!
Whilst this idea would be completely ridiculous and impractical most of the time, in more rural areas where regular electric car chargers are scarce it could be a workable solution as the gaps in the charging network are slowly but surely closed up. In countries such as Canada, America and Australia drivers can go for up to hundreds of miles without seeing any kind of basic amenities at all, let alone places where they can charge an electric car. Having roving car chargers on standby in these remote locations to give long-distance travellers a battery top-up so they don't end up getting stranded at the side of the road would certainly be a huge help!