China unveils world’s first Solar highway for electric vehicles

A six-lane superhighway that uses solar power for charging electric cars is planned for completion before 2022 in the Zhejiang Province in China, local media reported on Sunday.

The highway, first opened to the public for testing last December on a 2 kilometer stretch has the ability to convert sunlight into electricity and directly transfer it to the power grid in addition to charging electric vehicles.

The highway would support the driverless cars, using the adaptive road environment technology. “Sensors installed within the vehicles and on the road can react faster than humans when emergencies occur and detect malfunctions so as to ensure road safety,” explained Sun Zhang, a railway expert and professor at Shanghai Tongji University, in his statement for the local media.

The speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour would be safe to achieve on the 161-kilometer expressway, which is expected to raise the average speed on the road by 20 to 30 percent. The project does not include pay tolls that would reduce speeds and increase travel time, instead, the vehicles that travel on it would have chips installed, through which the tolls would be paid automatically.