A team of researchers at Stanford may have found a way to change car travel forever and at the same time change the country's reliance on foreign oil.
The research team says it has designed a high-efficiency charging system that can wirelessly charge electric cars.
The long-term goal of the research is to eventually create an all electric highway where drivers can wirelessly charge their cars as they drive.
"Our vision is that you'll be able to drive onto any highway and charge your car," said Shanhui Fan, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. "Large-scale deployment would involve revamping the entire highway system and could even have applications beyond transportation."
The technology uses magnetic fields to wirelessly transmit electric currents between metal coils stationed several feet apart.
The setup would dramatically improve the range of electric cars and make charging them more convenient.
It may even potentially eliminate the need to stop and wait hours for a charge.
But there are still potential hiccups that the researchers want to make sure they account for before trying to put the technology out there.
"We need to determine very early on that no harm is done to people, animals, the electronics of the car or to credit cards in your wallet," said Sven Beiker, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford
About 97 percent of the power is transferred efficiently, the group wants to make sure that the other 3 percent is not harmful.
The group has filed a patent for their technology and Fan says the next step is to test it in the laboratory and in real time conditions.