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Are electrified roads the next step toward an energy-friendly future?

Aerial view of Utah State University's ASPIRE Track in North Logan.
Utah State University
Utah State University
The ASPIRE Track in North Logan. ASPIRE is launching a joint demonstration project with Electreon to install 50 meters of dynamic in-road wireless charging hardware the Utah State University's test track

Gas prices are on the rise, increasing the ever growing demand for electric vehicles. Something big is in the works at ASPIRE - Utah State University’s test track, that could provide a major stepping stone for electrified vehicles.

A groundbreaking technology is underway in collaboration with Utah State University to electrify roads. This in-road wireless charging technology will charge the batteries of electric vehicles, while driving along the road or at rest, reducing the need to maximize battery range and lowering the need for large batteries.

Several collaborators, including Electreon - a provider for wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles, are working with USU researchers to implement their technology in a real life setting in the US. Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s Vice President, is helping introduce it to the US market.

“Imagine having your vehicle and instead of stopping to charge it, you drive and it will be charged automatically without you doing anything thereby not needing to have a huge battery, making vehicles more affordable," Tongur said. "Imagine not having to charge with very high power. You have inductive technology with coils embedded in the road, the coil, which we call the receiver underneath the vehicle."

Electreon and a National Science Foundation funded Engineer Research Center known as ASPIRE (Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification) announced last week they are launching a joint demonstration of their project this summer. Electreon’s dynamic or in-motion wireless charging technology is being installed at ASPIRE, USU’s test track in North Logan.

The first ever demonstration of this technology in North America will consist of 50 meters of in-road wireless charging hardware allowing a vehicle to charge while driving above metal plates. Tongur speaks more about the impact this demonstration will have.

“We are creating the future today of electrifying our vehicles...we are doing it here and bringing research together to make sure that what we do is safe, that it's sustainable in terms of reducing emissions, and also materials from batteries or other aspects," Tongur said.

The project marks a significant advancement in Electreon’s and USU’s efforts towards providing sustainable mobility infrastructure for the nation and the world.

Colleen Meidt is a science reporter at UPR as well as a PhD student at Utah State University. She studies native bees in the Mojave Desert and is particularly interested studying the conservation status of the Mojave Poppy Bee. In her free time, Colleen enjoys photography and rock climbing in the canyons.