Image Source: The New York Times
Roads that can charge electric vehicles or buses while you drive are not a novel concept, but the technology has been relatively costly and inefficient up to this point. However, according to Autoblog, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is developing a new form of cement with embedded magnetic particles that might one day enable efficient, high-speed charging at “normal roadbuilding costs.” The use of magnetized cement offers low-cost, high-efficiency wireless charging.
INDOT collaborated on the study alongside Purdue University and the German business Magment, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). They’ll conduct the study in three stages, first determining if the magnetic cement (dubbed “Magment” for obvious reasons) would function in the lab, then putting it to the test on a quarter-mile stretch of road.
Magment claims in a brochure that its device has “record-breaking wireless transmission efficiency of up to 95 percent,” and it’s “robust and vandalism-proof” along with that it can be constructed at “normal road-building installation prices.” The business also mentions that slabs with integrated ferrite particles might be made domestically under license.
INDOT said the last phase will “test the novel concrete’s potential to charge big vehicles operating at high power (200 kilowatts and beyond).” If the last quarter-mile test track is successful, INDOT plans to utilize the technology to electrify a section of Indiana’s public interstate.
Image Source: Dailymail, UK
It would be an environmental breakthrough to power large trucks straight from the road without any emissions at a cheap price, but there is still a lot of work to be done to show it works. There are several additional initiatives underway, such as the UK’s $780 million commitment to under-road charging research. Sweden has also experimented with a slot-car-like technology that incorporates an electric “rail” into roadways. If it lives up to Magment’s claims, this current effort appears to be considerably less difficult.
According to Mauricio Esguerra, CEO of Magment “This project is a real step forward towards the future of dynamic wireless charging, that will undoubtedly set the standard for affordable, sustainable, and efficient transportation electrification.”
The company website stated that this project is expected to begin later this summer.