April 1, 2024

Purdue, INDOT to test new highway that can charge electric vehicles

Aaron Brovont (middle) and other engineers seen in a lab surveying technology that can charge electric vehicles. - Courtesy of Purdue University

Aaron Brovont (middle) and other engineers seen in a lab surveying technology that can charge electric vehicles.

Courtesy of Purdue University

Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Transportation will start construction this week on a segment of highway capable of charging electric semi-trucks as they drive over it.

Researchers said the first-of-a-kind project could eventually be used to transform highways across the country.

Work will begin on a quarter-mile segment of roadway just outside of West Lafayette that will allow batteries for electric semi trucks to charge as they pass over them, not unlike a wireless phone charger.

Purdue Research Assistant Professor Aaron Brovont said the system would be strong enough to charge electric cars and maintain the battery charge of heavy-duty electric vehicles, so they would not ever need to stop and recharge.

“You could get anywhere in the country really without having to stop from point A to point B except as you desire to because as long as you’re on that interstate system you have infinite range,” Brovont said.

Brovont said if the system is implemented in highways across the country it could solve both range anxiety concerns around electric vehicles and reduce emissions.

The new highways could also make electric semi trucks, currently limited by the large batteries required for them, more feasible.

“As it stands today the electric heavy-duty trucks have to have a very large battery,” Brovont said. “If we can reduce the size of the batteries in these trucks it makes them economically competitive with diesel vehicles and helps us with that energy transition.”

Researchers hope the quarter-mile strip of roadway can begin testing sometime next year.

 

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