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A road surface that can charge EVs on the move is being tested in Italy

A road surface that can charge EVs on the move is being tested in Italy

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An innovative new road surface capable of charging electric cars as they travel over it is being tested in northern Italy.

An innovative new road surface capable of charging electric cars as they travel over it is being tested in northern Italy. 

The Arena del Futuro (Arena of the Future) is a 1,050-metre long circuit built around 40 miles east of Milan. 

Here, it is being seen whether or not it is possible for an electric car’s battery can be charged while it passes over a road surface. 

It works in a similar way to smartphone chargers, but this method has been hampered by a poor transfer of energy. This is partly down to the distance between the car and the road surface as well as the requirement for the two to be lined up accurately. 

However, this new research appears to have hit a new stage and has attracted major backing from firms including Stellantis, the car group in charge of manufacturers such as Citroen, Fiat and Peugeot. 

Under current tests, an electric Fiat 500 and an Iveco E-Way bus have been fitted with the capability to receive charge through the Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) and, initially at least, this has produced ‘more than encouraging results’. 

Anne-Lise Richard, head of the global e-mobility business unit at Stellantis, said: “This is a cutting-edge solution to provide a concrete answer to the issues of range and charging, both of which customers are concerned about.

“We’re accelerating our role of defining the mobility of the future and, in this sense, DWPT technology seems to us to be in line with our desire to offer a concrete response to customers’ requirements. Charging vehicles while they are on the move provides clear advantages in terms of charging times and the size of their batteries.”

The technology works by sending an electrical charge through wires incorporated into the road surface. Receivers fitted to the cars are then able to use this to replenish their batteries. Its developers say that the technology will also incorporate connected services, meaning that the road itself will be able to pass messages onto other vehicles on the road. This could be about an incident on the road ahead, for example.