Magnetised concrete could be used to charge EVs on highways

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One of the big hurdles facing electric vehicles (EVs) is infrastructure, with there being a distinct lack of charging stations across the world, no matter how many carmakers make their EVs available. A potential solution to that is building roads that charge your car while driving. It is by no means a new concept, but to date has proved an expensive exercise, leading to decision makers opting against adopting such solutions.

That could change, however, as the Indiana Department of Transport (INDOT) has announced that it will begin testing roads that are built with magnetised concrete slabs, which could prove a less expensive way of bringing car charging highways to reality.

The test is being conducted with the help of researchers from Purdue University and German firm Magment, along with funding from the United States’ National Science Foundation.

“As electric vehicles become more widely used, demand for reliable, convenient charging infrastructure continues to grow, and the need to innovate is clear,” INDOT commissioner Joe McGuinness noted in the announcement.

“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,” added Nadia Gkritza, Professor of Civil Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering and ASPIRE Campus Director at Purdue University .

According to Magment, its magnetised concrete slabs are able to wireless transmit at up 95 percent, with the cost of the technology similar to that of normal slabs used in road construction.

The company explains that this project will be split into three phases, with the first two designed for testing and analysis. Thereafter, actual construction will take place.

“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,” notes Magment.

It will be interesting to see what this testing yields, and if successful, whether other US states and countries will look to this kind of solution moving forward.

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