Indiana DOT, Purdue to Implant EV Coils in Freeway

New technologies can change the way Americans travel.

Source : Indiana DOT

April 10, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

Electric vehicles are no longer a niche market. Nationwide, EV sales soared by 50% in 2023, fueled by advances in battery technology and supportive government policies, such as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning. Indiana is part of this trend, with 7,000 of all registered vehicles being electric, as of April 2021. 

However, charging infrastructure hasn’t kept the same pace. That’s why Indiana DOT and Purdue University are teaming up to create a stretch of highway that could recharge electric vehicles while they drive. Taking a road trip where your EV’s battery never dips below 80% is about to be a reality very soon.

This groundbreaking project involves embedding special coils into concrete pavement. These coils generate a magnetic field that can transfer wireless power to compatible EVs, potentially eliminating the need to stop at charging stations.

The technology is in its early stages, but the vision is big. Researchers first tested and refined the special concrete in the lab. Now, with funding from the Joint Transportation Research Program, they’re ready to build a quarter-mile test track.

“As electric vehicles become more widely used, demand for reliable, convenient charging infrastructure continues to grow, and the need to innovate is clear,” said Indiana DOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness.

The testing phase will be crucial. Engineers need to make sure the concrete can handle heavy truck traffic and effectively charge vehicles at high speeds. If successful, this could revolutionize how EVs are used for long hauls and commercial transport.

Construction on the test track, located along a section of US 231/US 52 near Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is set to begin in early April, with completion aimed for 2025. White Construction, a Clinton, Indiana-based company, has been selected as the builder.

Purdue’s wireless charging system is similar in concept to how some smartphones can be charged on special pads without a cable. The goal is to eventually electrify a major Indiana interstate highway- a potential game-changer for the state.

This ambitious project is part of a broader initiative called ASPIRE (Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification). Funded as an Engineering Research Center by the National Science Foundation, ASPIRE brings together experts from universities, labs, and industry to solve the challenges of widespread EV adoption.

And it’s not just the roads that are getting electrified. Construction of EV factories and battery plants is booming. Dodge Construction Network reports that in 2023, electrical machinery construction (which includes these facilities) reached $35.2 billion. That’s nearly half of all manufacturing construction.

This could have a transformative effect on both personal and commercial EV use. It will make it possible for electric trucks to recharge on-the-go during long hauls, reducing downtime and making deliveries more efficient. 

For everyday drivers, range anxiety- the fear of running out of power before reaching a charger- could become a thing of the past. This technological leap might encourage people who were hesitant about EVs to consider making the switch.


Category : Department of Transportation Green Economy Green Construction State Government Freeways and Highways

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