Small project for now, with potentially big implications.
On 17 May 2021 a multinational group of companies came together to launch the Arena del Futuro project in Italy. By combining forces, all parties involved will build out a dedicated portion of the A35 Brebemi-Aleatica motorway so that it can use contactless charging to transfer electrical power to EVs. The A35 runs between Brescia and Milan, and this project will utilise a 1,050-metre ring (just over half a mile) near the Chiari Ovest exit.
The 1,035-metre asphalt circuit will be fed by one megawatt of power, and will be a closed ring road called Arena del Futuro, or Arena of the Future. Wireless charging company ElectReon will use both its static power transfer and dynamic power transfer technologies to enable charging of both stationary and in-motion vehicles in the designated area.
Additionally, the consortium of companies plans to explore Internet of Things connectivity options, including 5G technology, to ensure maximum road safety during the project. All stakeholders also plan to study how best to optimise the road surface to make it both efficient at charging and also more durable for any potential usage pattern changes involved.
There are a total of 14 different members in the consortium that is working on this project, including both industrial partners and Italian universities. These partners include the A35 Brebemi-Aleatica motorway, ABB, ElectReon, FIAMM Energy Technology, IVECO, IVECO Bus, Mapei, Pizzarotti, Politecnico di Milano, Prysmian, Stellantis, TIM, Roma Tre University, and the University of Parma.
It’s unclear at this time exactly how long this project will last, although initial estimates mention “the next few months of work and study.” Currently, several Stellantis passenger vehicles and an Iveco intercity bus are planned to be part of the project.
While there’s no mention of electric motorcycle or scooter involvement at this point, this project could clearly have impacts on those vehicles in the future, particularly if the technology advances to the point of practical, everyday use. As ever with these types of projects, we look forward to hearing more about what they learn in the coming months.