19 April 2012, 11:41 BST
Imagine covering all our sun-drenched roads with solar panels instead of concrete and asphalt - that's what Solar Roadways has in mind for getting us unhooked from fossil fuels.
They're starting small with driveways, bike paths, patios, sidewalks, parking lots, and playgrounds, to perfect their technology.
The Solar Roadway is a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that can be driven on, and which can collect energy to be used by our homes and businesses.
Any home or business connected to the Solar Roadway (via a Solar Road Panel driveway or parking lot) receives the power and data signals that the Solar Roadway provides. The Solar Roadway becomes an intelligent, self-healing, decentralized, secure power grid.
An electric road allows electric vehicles to recharge anywhere: rest stops, parking lots, etc. That gives them the same range as a gasoline-powered vehicle. Internal combustion engines would become obsolete. Our dependency on oil would come to an abrupt end.
In 2009, Solar Roadways won a contract from the Federal Highway Administration to build the first ever Solar Road Panel prototype.
After that was completed, they got a 2-year $750,000 follow-up contract to build a prototype parking lot and test it under all weather and sunlight conditions.
After the Solar Roadways technology is proven in parking lots, the next step is residential roads, where speeds are slower than highways and trucks are not as common.
The final goal is the nation's highways. Solar Roadways is already investigating using mutual inductance to charge EVs traveling over Solar Road Panels as they drive!
Here's their website: