New Magnetizable Concrete Charges EVs on the Road

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash
Published On
Sep 23, 2021

Have you ever thought of buying an all-electric car but were worried you would run out of power before you got to your destination?

Well, soon, you may be able to recharge your car as you drive.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is partnering with Purdue University to conduct a pilot test of the world’s first contactless, wireless charging concrete pavement on a highway segment. The project will use magnetizable concrete developed by German startup Magment GmbH, enabling electric vehicles to be wirelessly charged as they drive, including all-electric heavy trucks.

The project is part of the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification (ASPIRE), an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation.

“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,” said Nadia Gkritza, a Purdue professor and the university’s ASPIRE campus director.

Phases 1 and 2 of the project will feature pavement testing, analysis and optimization research conducted by Purdue’s Joint Transportation Research Program. In phase 3, INDOT will construct a ¼-mile-long testbed where engineers will test the magnetizable concrete’s capacity to charge heavy truck operations at 200 kilowatts and above.

Upon successful completion of testing of all three phases, INDOT will use the new technology to electrify a segment of interstate highway.

Indiana is known for its harsh winters, which, along with rain in the summer, could stymie the transfer of electric charges across the air gap between the pavement and the receiver in the test electric car, Purdue professor Steven Pekarek told Construction Dive. As such, the pilot will test the magnetizable concrete’s strength, durability and functionality under different weather conditions.

“We're trying to implement those conditions on our design to make sure it can withstand large variations with temperature, if water gets into the system and what happens if you vary the distance between the vehicle receiver and the transmitter in the roadway,” Pekarek said.

About the Author

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than three decades of experience writing about the construction industry, and her articles have been featured in the Associated General Contractor’s Constructor magazine, the American Fence Association’s Fencepost, the...

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