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Feasibility Analysis of Electric Roadways

Utah State University (USU)

Feasibility Analysis of Electric Roadways Through Localized Traffic, Cost, Adoption, and Environmental Impact Modeling

Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$498,169
Location: 
Logan, UT
Project Term: 
09/15/2017 to 03/14/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Electric vehicles offer the promise of high efficiency, high reliability, zero tailpipe emissions, and lower operating costs relative to internal combustion engine vehicles. Yet electric vehicle adoption is limited in part by today's stationary battery charging paradigm, particularly for larger light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Alternative technologies such as in-road inductive wireless and overhead conductive power transfer enable battery-electric vehicle charging while in motion. Wide-adoption of these electric roadways (i.e. roads that serve as both transport and dynamic electricity delivery infrastructure) could eliminate electric vehicle range anxiety, reduce requirements for on-board energy storage, and improve the feasibility of eliminating tailpipe emissions in larger vehicle classes. However, before product development can be undertaken and wide-adoption realized, information must be gathered to address basic questions about electric roadways including infrastructure costs and approaches to maximize energy savings and emission reductions.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Utah State University (USU) will develop a technoeconomic analysis to assess the feasibility and environmental and economic impacts of various electric roadway technologies. This project will aggregate, synthesize, and link previously isolated data sets to form a high-resolution, comprehensive assessment of electric roadways at the regional scale. Localized grid and road construction cost estimates are being considered. Targeted outcomes include identification of first adopters, economic and environmental cost/benefit of incremental deployment, and technology gaps that can accelerate adoption. By resolving these key questions, this project endeavors to catalyze public and private investment in electric roadway technology development, pilot projects, infrastructure deployment, and market adoption. The team will also evaluate the technology gaps and the value proposition for broader incremental rollout of electric roadways across the U.S. If successful, this project will provide actionable information regarding guidelines for incremental rollout of electric roadways and quantified metrics that tie technology gaps to their impact on accelerating market adoption.

Potential Impact: 
Security: 
Environment: 
Economy: 
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Scott Litzelman
Project Contact: 
Prof. Regan Zane
Partners
Colorado State University
Purdue University
Release Date: