Photo Credit: Magment
It was over a decade ago that scientists in South Korea first explored the concept of roads that charged your cars and buses while you drove. And now, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in the US — in collaboration with Purdue University — has come up with an idea to develop what's going to be the world's first wireless-charging concrete pavement highway segment. The project will make use of innovative magnetisable concrete that was developed by German startup Magment. It enables wireless charging of electric vehicles as and when they are driven on.
Eric J. Holcomb, the Governor of Indiana, said in a statement that the state was known as the crossroads of America, adding that it is committed to solidifying their image as the leader of transportation by innovating to support the emerging vehicle technology. He added that the project sends a strong signal that the state is on the leading edge when it comes to delivering the infrastructure needed to support the adoption of electric vehicles.
The latest technology project, to power electric vehicles while they are on the road being driven, comes under the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification (ASPIRE) Initiative. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and entails the collaboration of universities, government laboratories, businesses, and other stakeholders determined to develop next-generation charging technologies for the electrification of vehicles of all classes.
The project has three phases and it is expected to begin this summer. Phases 1 and 2 involve pavement testing, analysis, and optimisation research conducted by the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) at Purdue's West Lafayette campus. In the final phase, the transportation department will construct a quarter-mile-long test bed. The location is yet to be decided. Engineers will, then, test the concrete's capacity to charge trucks.
INDOT commissioner Joe McGuinness said that the demand for reliable and convenient charging infrastructure continues to grow as electric vehicles come to be more widely used.
Nadia Gkritza, Professor, Campus Director, ASPIRE at Purdue University, said that their research envisions opportunities to reduce emissions and near-road exposures to pollutants, adding it could be coupled with other transportation innovations in shared mobility and automation, shaping data-driven policies encouraging advances.