Italian highway recharges electric vehicles as they go

The Brebemi highway in Lombardy successfully launched a new test track where a bus and a car could recharge their batteries with no need to stop, using an induction recharging system.

The Brebemi motorway in northern Italy has launched its Arena of the Future initiative. On this 1km track, cars and busses equipped with induction charging technology can refill their batteries on the go without stopping. The so-called DWPT (Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer) system is embedded directly into the roadbed and provides up to 76kW of recharging power to larger vehicles like trucks and buses.

In early June, during the inauguration ceremony, the track was tested successfully by an Iveco Bus E-Way, which could recharge while driving at around 70 km/h, and a Fiat 500e. The car had to move around the track at a slightly slower speed due to the smaller induction system mounted on it.

According to the motorway company, the inductive charging Electric Road System, supplied to Brebemi by Electreon, will cost between 1.2 and 1.5 million Euros per kilometer when installed on a typical 4-kilometer stretch of road. The new system is touted as a viable solution to decarbonize the mobility sector quickly.

Yet, there are still many uncertain variables before the technology can succeed. Among those is the broader availability of induction charging systems on commercial electrical vehicles, a niche feature available so far only on test vehicles.

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