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Indiana, Partners Develop Roadway Section to Charge EVs

The Indiana Department of Transportation is working with Purdue University and power unit maker Cummins to build a segment that can wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they are driven. The stretch of road will be roughly one-quarter mile.

An elevated futuristic highway glows orange as vehicles travel toward high-rises at twilight.
(TNS) — Work will begin soon in Tippecanoe County on the first segment of highway in the U.S. that will wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they travel, a project that could help define the future of EV charging.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is teaming up with Purdue University and Cummins, Inc. to install the technology on a state highway in West Lafayette as part of a pilot project, according to a draft press release obtained by IndyStar.

The first segment of the project will cover about a quarter of a mile along U.S. Highway 52 / U.S. Highway 231 between Lindberg Road and Cumberland Avenue, the release said.

IndyStar has requested more details about the project and is waiting for responses from INDOT and Purdue, which both confirmed an official announcement is planned for later this week.

Indiana's pilot segment comes after multiple years of testing and research. In the future, the goal is to expand the research by electrifying a section of an Indiana interstate. The ability to charge on the go would reduce the need for charging breaks and extend the range of electric vehicles, which currently is one of their major drawbacks.

The ongoing work is aimed at advancing understanding on how to transfer high power across longer stretches of pavement at highway speeds, as well as how to equip EVs to obtain that power as they are on the move. This research has been described as having the potential to define the future of EV charging, according to previous Purdue releases on the topic.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and be completed by next summer. The work will entail removing the existing pavement and installing the coil circuits and electronics, including inverters and transmitters.

When complete, the segment of road will be able to help charge both heavy duty and electric passenger vehicles as they travel at highway speeds, the draft release said.

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