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INDOT, Purdue University partner to build electric charging highway segment in West Lafayette

Construction on U.S. 52
Posted at 7:20 AM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 08:04:29-04

WEST LAFAYETTE — Construction is well underway on U.S. 52/231 in West Lafayette.

The section of road will soon be the first-of-its-kind electric charging highway.

“The barrels are up and everybody’s out there," Blake Dollier with INDOT West Central district said.

Crews began working on the project on April 1.

It’s made possible through a partnership with INDOT, Purdue University and Cummins Inc.

“Maybe even four or five years ago this was a foreign thought. This is something that’s very realistic. We see a lot more electric vehicles on the road and this is something that is the crossroads of America here in Indiana... Part of that title is being a leader in innovation," Dollier said.

Imagine you can charge your car like how a smartphone charges on a wireless pad.

That’s the idea behind Dynamic wireless power transfer technology or DWPT.

As electric vehicles drive over the road, the pavement uses wireless chargers to send power to the car with magnetic fields, eliminating the need to stop.

“In our case, at Purdue, the big deal is that we’re able to charge a fully loaded semi-tractor trailer moving at 65 miles per hour," Purdue University researcher John Haddock said.

Benefits of electric vehicles include cheaper maintenance, reduced traffic noise and less harm to the environment.

“It’s not a point source for any pollutant. There’s nothing, there’s no carbon monoxide, there’s no co2, there’s nothing coming out of the tailpipe because there’s actually no tailpipe on an electric vehicle," he said.

This is an approximately $10.6 million state-funded project.

The test bed is about a quarter mile stretch just outside the INDOT sub district office.

“Slow down. Buckle up. Put your phone down," Dollier said.

Drivers can expect lane closures on U.S. 52/231 up until the fall.

The project is expected to be completed in spring 2025.