Electric cars -- good for the environment and, in the long run, good for your pocket too, what with the price of petrol only set to rise as we run through the Earth's natural resources. Problem is, electric charging stations are nowhere near as prevalent as petrol stops. Volvo's research into a discrete inductive charging pad for electric cars could help to change that though.
An induction coil linked to the mains connects to a second induction coil housed in a portable pad that can be placed on the floor, ready for a car to drive over. The two coils together create an electromagnetic field which, rather than being weapon of choice for a dastardly super villain, can be used to charge the car battery without the need for a cord.
It's a method already in use in electric toothbrushes according to Volvo, and could usher in an age of hassle-free charging for electric car users, in theory allowing for electric car charging stations to be established with very little effort, and without the need for a permanent base station to be installed. Though a 2.5 hour charge of the Volvo C30 Electric isn't quite as speedy as a pit stop at the local petrol station, a wireless charging pad built into the driveway is bound to get you a shout out on Grand Designs. [Volvo]