Could Roads Be Used to Recharge Electric Vehicles? It’s possible such technology may be available soon

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity. EV sales, however, are estimated to account for less than 4% of total passenger car sales in the United States by 2021. One factor is range anxiety, or the inability to quickly recharge on extended travels. And the anxiety is well-founded: range, charging time, and charging station availability all seem to have a long way to go.

EVs, on the other hand, are getting a boost: They’re a big part of the Biden Administration’s $7.5 billion projects, which was announced by the president earlier in the month and aims to establish a statewide network of 500,000 high-speed electric car charging stations by 2030. (According to the US Department of Energy, there are currently around 43,000 charging stations.)

However, this would only fix part of the problem, owing to the fact that charging times are still long. The true game-changer in the coming decade may be streets that use inductive charging technology to fuel automobiles as they travel.

Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Transportation revealed intentions to create the world’s first frictionless wireless-charging concrete pavement roadway segment in July.

The project is being carried out by the Advancing Sustainability Through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE) engineering research center. The National Science Foundation funds it.

“Range anxiety is one of the most significant impediments to electrification. Nadia Gkritza, a professor at Purdue University’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering as well as ASPIRE campus director, said, “This technology is intended to fix the problem.” “To put it another way, the idea is to send the charge to the cars rather than having them stop at charging points to refuel.”

The multiyear initiative will use a German company’s Magment’s magnetizable concrete technology to enable wireless charging of electric automobiles while they drive. Small particles of the recycled ferrite — a ceramic created by combining iron oxide with slivers of metallic components like nickel and zinc — are added to a concrete mixture, which is then magnetized by an electrical current. This generates a magnetic field that wirelessly distributes power to the car.

A 12-feet long by 4-feet wide plate or box manufactured of the patented material is buried at a depth of a couple of inches inside the pavement. The transmitter is a box that holds coils of wire that connect to the power grid via specialized electrical equipment, according to Dionysios Aliprantis, a professor at Purdue’s Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Normal roadway material – concrete or asphalt — surrounds the transmitter. The transmitters would be placed one after the other in the roadway, providing for a constant power transfer. The receiver is a smaller box with coils which is affixed to the underside of an automobile, similar to the transmitter.

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