Magment, Purdue, and INDOT Are Hard at Work Pulling off a Recharging Road

ASPIRE Recharge Infrastructure 9 photos
ASPIRE Recharge InfrastructureHeavy Duty VehicleASPIRE Recharge InfrastructureMagPadMagment Charging StripMagment Concrete and FerriteMagPad and ForkliftMagment Recharging Lane
The idea of charging your car on the go is nothing new. You can even say that this was the dream from the very beginning. However, thanks to Purdue University, Magment, and the Indiana Department of Transportation, that dream is now becoming a reality.
Recent news brought to the attention of the public has heard Governor Eric J. Holcomb announcing that Indiana will be at the forefront of “wireless charging technologies for highways.” To do this, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has partnered up with Purdue University and an already existing manufacturer of recharging surfaces, Magment, to test all aspects of what it means to create and operate a wireless charging road.

The project is part of the Advancing Sustainability through Power Infrastructure for Road Electrification Initiative (ASPIRE). This research center is sustained by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the sole purpose of reinventing the ancient fossil fuel infrastructure into a sustainable, clean, and electric one. But as you can imagine this is no easy task.

This is where the expertise of Magment comes in. Magment is a German company made up of a team of engineers, scientists, chemists, with the sole purpose of bringing forth wireless inductive charging infrastructures. They already have a product (MagPad) that’s being used in warehouses to recharge forklifts and other vehicles.

Magment Recharging Lane
Photo: Magment
One benefit of this company’s tech is that it offers a continuous power transfer up to 10 kW with no fluctuations in output levels. Not to mention, a completely flat surface free of wires, cords, or any other potential obstacles.

This sort of idea is already being carried out in parts of Europe and other parts of the globe. One company I've run across is Electreon. This team has successfully implemented several recharging strips in Gotland, Germany, and the A35 highway in Italy. Some, like the A35, is even aimed at recharging heavy duty vehicles.

Currently, Magment is using a mixture of specialized cement and recycled magnetic particles, ferrite. Another benefit of this system is that it uses recycled ferrite from e-waste recyclers, while integration into already existing build processes is a breeze, according to Magment at least.

Past systems, and even some being used by the ASPIRE program, have been set up with hundreds of panels in a lane that activate as a vehicle passes over the target area. This venture seems to be made in the same style, with separate panels that activate as vehicles move over it. It isn’t clear if these teams will be eliminating the panels all together and making the entire surface chargeable.

ASPIRE Recharge Infrastructure
So far, that’s all theory, for Indiana at least. To carry out the project, several phases will have to be undertaken. Phase one and two of the project will be handling things like pavement testing, analysis, and optimization research. Only once these two phases are complete, with the research conducted by the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) from Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, will the project move onto phase three, the actual construction.

For this step, INDOT will undergo construction of a quarter mile stretch of road where the knowledge acquired in steps one and two can all be put to good use. Just as the A35 bed completed by Electreon, the INDOT testbed will be aimed at heavy trucks. All the while operating a recharge system that offers 200 kW or more of power.

If all goes according to plan, you will begin to see determined segments of interstate highways within Indiana able to recharge vehicles on the go. The way I see it, Indiana and other states that have been testing these sorts of systems, will eventually expand into a nationwide network, that’s the plan anyway, I would hope.

But as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, some groups of people in this world are really working hard on making dreams a reality, no matter the work involved. This is one of them.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories