Darrell Etherington (@etherington)
A recent Amazon patent could be an answer to range anxiety, albeit one that sounds a bit more sci-fi than practical solution at the moment: the newly granted patent (via Roadshow) describes a drone that could carry a battery charge for electric cars, and deliver them to any cars out on the road that need them while in route, providing enough juice to get to a proper charging station.
There’s a lot that seems crazy about this patent, however – including the fact that drones themselves require a lot of tricky power management to get even limited flight times with lightweight cargo on board. Keeping themselves charged and within range of vehicles in need of a top-up might be the most challenging aspect of the idea overall, in fact.
It’s not the only hurdle in terms of making this thing real, either; the patent also describes a rooftop docking station that the drone can land on to stay connected with the vehicle and provide power on an ongoing basis while it continues along its route. That means either aftermarket modifications or buy-in from automakers will be required to make it happen, too.
At the moment, it’s not a super realistic concept, in other words. But it has potential, especially if we get to a future where EVs are commonplace, as are drone delivery services (something Amazon definitely is interested in making happen).