Indiana Engineers Developing Highways That Charge Your Electric Vehicle

April 12, 2024
Engineers at Purdue University have designed a patent-pending system capable of charging a heavy-duty electric truck traveling at highway speeds.

Engineers at Purdue University have teamed up with the Indiana Department of Transportation to develop highways that can wirelessly charge moving vehicles.

According to a Purdue press release, engineers have designed a patent-pending system capable of charging a heavy-duty electric truck traveling at highway speeds.

The technology it utilizes is similar to the wireless charging seen in newer phones, only with much more power distributed across a greater distance. Transmitter coils installed underneath normal concrete pavement in specially dedicated lanes would send power to receiver coils that would be installed to the underbody of a vehicle.

The decision to use a heavy-duty truck in testing was deliberate. Heavy-duty vehicles require much greater power than passenger cars, making it so that any system accommodating a heavy-duty vehicle could do the same for other vehicle classes requiring less power.

The project aims to electrify a section of an Indiana interstate in the next four to five years. On April 1, construction began on a quarter-mile test bed located on U.S. Highway 231/U.S. Highway 52 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Testing will take place sometime next year with an electric truck provided by Cummins Inc.

“We don’t envision 100% of the roads being electrified,” said Nadia Gkritza, a Purdue professor of civil engineering and agricultural and biological engineering. “But we see the potential for dynamic wireless power pavement technology as complementary to an expanding network of EV charging stations that we will see very soon here in the U.S.”

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