Wireless electric vehicle charging through highway pavement to be tested in Indiana

Highlights
  • The Indiana Department of Transportation is working on some interesting new technology for wirelessly charging EVs. 
  • The ASPIRE initiative hopes to wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they drive on the highways. 
  • Currently, the project is still in its research stage; field trials are unlikely to commence until way later. 

The Indiana Department of Transportation (DoT) has stated that it will partner up with German firm Magment GmbH to develop some interesting infrastructure. Roads passing through the state will, in the hopefully not too distant future, be able to wirelessly charge vehicles that drive through them. It is a part of the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification (ASPIRE) Initiative, which involves multiple private and state entities working together to bring electric cars to the mainstream. Indiana is one of the major transportation hubs in the United States, so infrastructure that supports electric vehicles are the need of the hour. 

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Phase one and two of the ASPIRE project are purely research-driven and will happen at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. Upon successful completion, Phase 3 will involve field trials involving heavy vehicles such as trucks, which require over 200 kilowatts of power and above, following which a test run will be conducted in the real world. The project is already underway, but there’s no telling when we get to see it in action. 

While the prospect of wirelessly charging high-speed vehicles in real time sounds like a promising one, the technical challenges associated with it are numerous. The Netherlands tried befitting solar panels under its roads a few years ago, and the project was far from successful. Its failure did give us some valuable insights into the relationship with electric power and transportation, though. 

Critically acclaimed AAA game Death Stranding might have a potential solution, though. In the game, one can build charging stations alongside the highway that power your vehicle when parked next to it. Perhaps the researchers have already borrowed a page or two from Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece.