WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Game changing technology for electric cars is being developed right here in Indiana. Researchers at Purdue are designing pavement that can charge an electric vehicle as it drives on it.
“That is done by electromagnetic fields that are sent from the transmitter in the roadway to the receiver in the vehicle,” detailed Purdue professor and researcher Steve Pekarek.
The technology works similar to a wireless charger that sits on a nightstand. Charge coils are embedded under the road, and as a car passes over it, it powers the battery. It doesn’t charge the battery as much as it keeps it from having to use any power. The tech may allow for smaller batteries in electric cars which will reduce the price of those vehicles.
“Key roadways would have it embedded within it,” explained Pekare. “You have to bring power to the roadway, so you have to have a connection to that.”
Researchers are using a large machine that simulates a car tire traveling over the pavement. The hydraulic machine can simulate 40 to 50 years of road wear in just months. A typical road is uniform underneath, but their pavement will have coils two to three inches under the pavement. The machine can help test the stability of their design.
“No matter how effective the electricity underneath is, if you don’t have a structurally effective pavement that surrounds it, it’s going to fail,” said Oscar Moncada, a Purdue research assistant working on the project. “Here we are measuring the structural performance.”
Researchers believe it may be 15 to 20 years before technology like this is everywhere. They plan to test the technology on a quarter-mile of pavement in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Transportation is in the process of figuring out where that will be.