Embedding inductive charging in highways’ road surface is an idea that many manufacturers have analysed over the years, but none of them has yet to implement it for public use. But charging your EV on the move, while you drive on the motorway sounds like such a tempting prospect that companies are willing to put in the time and resources to make it viable and the most recent automaker to try it is Stellantis.
The newest industrial giant on the global automotive scene, Stellantis, created a circular test track with embedded inductive charging, calling it Arena del Futuro (Italian for Arena of the Future). It was built as part of the state-funded A35 Brembi infrastructure project which links the major Italian cities of Brescia, Bergamo and Milan.
According to Stellantis, the outer lane of the circle has an embedded Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) system implemented and it allows a vehicle like the electric Fiat 500 they used as a test car to actually drive at motorway speeds without actually draining its battery. The company says it is committed to offering “cutting-edge freedom of mobility” and this is one way to achieve that without overburdening cars with huge, heavy batteries.
Stellantis also notes that one thing that makes its Arena del Futuro different to other similar projects is that it is actually fed with direct current, which should result in fewer energy losses in the distribution process, it would negate the need to convert DC into AC, it allows for the use of thinner cables and they can apparently use aluminium cables that are still conductive enough to do the job, yet cost half compared to copper and it brings additional benefits, particularly for recycling.
Anne-Lise Richard, Head of Global e-Mobility Business Unit at Stellantis, said that
Our long-term strategic plan, Dare Forward 2030, is based on the premise of bringing ‘cutting-edge freedom of mobility’ to all and this project is the very essence of where we’re headed as a company.
Working with this incredible group of partners, we have proven that inductive recharging technology can power our electrified future. These joint projects are exciting steps as we work to achieve longer battery lifespan, lower range anxiety, greater energy efficiency, smaller battery size, outstanding performance and lower weight and cost.