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Charge while you roll: Indiana DOT, Purdue University plan to create highway capable of charging ECVs

Charge while you roll: Indiana DOT, Purdue University plan to create highway capable of charging ECVs
The Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue University plan to use magnetizable concrete, developed by German startup Magment GmbH, that can enable wireless charging of electric vehicles as they drive over the surface. Shown here is the Peace Interchange in Tel Aviv, Israel, the site of a wireless charging project using Magment’s technology. (Courtesy: Magment/Ofer Vaknin)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Purdue University on July 1 announced plans to develop a contactless wireless-charging concrete pavement highway segment capable of charging commercial electric vehicles (CEVs). The location of the stretch of electrified pavement has yet to be determined.

The project will use magnetizable concrete, developed by German startup Magment GmbH, that can enable wireless charging of electric vehicles as they drive over the surface.

“Indiana is known as the ‘Crossroads of America,’ and we’re committed to fortifying our position as a transportation leader by innovating to support the emerging vehicle technology,” said Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “This partnership to develop wireless charging technology for highways sends a strong signal that Indiana is on the leading edge of delivering the infrastructure needed to support the adoption of electric vehicles.”

The project is part of the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification (ASPIRE) Initiative, an engineering research center funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It involves the collaboration of universities, government laboratories, businesses and other stakeholders developing next generation charging technologies for the electrification of transportation vehicles of all classes.

“As electric vehicles become more widely used, demand for reliable, convenient charging infrastructure continues to grow, and the need to innovate is clear,” said INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness. “We’re excited to partner with Purdue and Magment to explore incorporating wireless charging technology into highway infrastructure.”

The project will include three phases and is expected to begin later this summer

Phases 1 and 2 of the projects will feature pavement testing, analysis and optimization research conducted by the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

In Phase 3, INDOT will construct a quarter mile-long testbed at a location yet to be determined, where engineers will test the innovative concrete’s capacity to charge heavy trucks operation at high power (200 kilowatts and above).

Upon successful completion of testing of all three phases, INDOT will use the new technology to electrify a yet-to-be-determined segment of interstate highway within Indiana.

“The field of transportation is in the midst of a transformation not experienced since the invention of the automobile,” said Nadia Gkritza, professor of civil, agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University. “Through this research, we envision opportunities to reduce emissions and near-road exposures to pollutants, coupled with other transportation innovations in shared mobility and automation that will shape data-driven policies encouraging advances.”

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