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Australian Trial Tests Wireless Charging of Electric Trucks

Australian Trial Tests Wireless Charging of Electric Trucks

A new trial in Australia is set to test roads that wirelessly charge electric trucks as they drive, potentially revolutionizing the trucking industry.

The $8.2 million Australian dollar (about $5.4 million) initiative, partially funded by a government grant, is led by a research group from Melbourne’s Swinburne University and partners with German company Siemens AG, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and electric-truck manufacturer Sea Electric, Bloomberg reported Monday (Feb. 26).

Similar trials in other countries have shown promising results, with Sweden aiming to build the world’s first permanent electric motorway by 2025, according to the report.

The proposed technology involves two coils — one under the road and one attached to the vehicle — that can be retrofitted to existing electric vehicles, the report said. The wireless charging technology can enable a flexible distribution of energy, allowing vehicles to discharge energy back to the grid or each other.

The trial in Australia aims to help the country meet the challenges it faces in electrifying its heavy-vehicle fleet due to its vast geography, per the report.

The deployment of electric trucks could save the country $325 billion Australian dollars (about $212 billion) by 2050 while contributing to a greener and more efficient transport sector, according to the report.

The technology could help reduce pollution from trucks and meet the government’s 2030 emissions goals, the report said. Additionally, it could lower the cost of electric vehicles by allowing manufacturers to shrink battery sizes.

Australia heavily relies on the trucking industry, moving 241.8 billion tons of freight by road in a year, with road freight volume expected to grow by 77% between 2020 and 2050, per the report.

The innovation has the potential to transform the heavy vehicle industry in Australia, allowing electric trucks to travel long distances between cities efficiently, such as the 2,700-kilometer journey from Adelaide to Perth or the 1,800-kilometer trip from Brisbane to Melbourne, the report said.

The shift to electric vehicles opens up the doors to a connected ecosystem where intelligent hardware will offer commercial players the capacity for enhanced customer experiences, increased efficiency and accessibility, and real-time agility around the way their daily tasks and workflows are managed, PYMNTS reported in September.

Sixty percent to 70% of an electric vehicle is the same as a gasoline-powered vehicle, Arun Chickmenahalli, director of maintenance R&D for advanced vehicle technology at Ryder System, told PYMNTS in an interview posted in September.

“But the 30% to 35% that is different is completely state of the art, and that requires a futuristic way of thinking,” Chickmenahalli said.

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