Indiana is set to be the location of the test trial for the world’s first concrete highway with inbuilt electric vehicle (EV) charging. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Purdue University are working together with Magment, a German startup to construct the highway that will wirelessly charge EV’s that use it. Magnetizable concrete will be analyzed and tested at a stretch of road at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, after which a quarter-mile-long expansion will allow engineers to monitor the concrete’s capacity to charge heavy trucks while maintaining 200kW of power as the first and second stage. The third phase of the project will involve electrifying a segment of an interstate highway in Indiana at an as-yet-undisclosed location.
The concrete highway with inbuilt EV charging project is part of the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification (ASPIRE) Initiative, an Engineering Research Center funded by the National Science Foundation. It involves the collaboration of government laboratories, universities, businesses, and other stakeholders developing next-generation charging technologies for the electrification of Transportation vehicles of all classes. It’s reasonable to assume that, in the near future, wireless charging will be a widespread method, which could solve once and for all issues such as long charging times or range anxiety. The cost required to incorporate it in public roads will be dear, however.
If the universities research proves to be a viable option, the Indiana Department of Transportation will commission a quarter-mile stretch of highway constructed of magment. Should that prove to be a success, the state will implement it further on public roads. Magment’s official site states that the concrete mixture is filled with magnetic particles that the company claims that it features wireless transmission efficiency of up to 95%. It goes on to claim that it works in all weather conditions, accepts universal charging, offers high thermal conductivity, and importantly, is vandalism proof.