ERTC - Environmentally Responsible Transportation Center for Communities of Concern Environmentally Responsible
Transportation Center for
Communities of Concern

Research Project:
In-pavement Charging for Electric Vehicles to Reduce Air Pollution

University: University of Lousiville

Principal Investigator(s): Zhihui Sun

Project Description:

This proposal aims to develop an in-pavement charging system for electric vehicles that can offset the shortage of charging stations. The newly developed system will not only promote the usages of electric vehicles to reduce gas emission, but also provides a solution to public transportation to those vulnerable communities.

Very recently, inductive or wireless charging technology emerged. This new technology requires both infrastructure investment and vehicle investment. To make wireless charging happen, a flat transmitter pad on the floor connected to power station is needed as a power supply to the electric vehicle, and a rectifier on the bottom of the electric vehicle need to be preinstalled as a receiver to receive and convert the energy to recharge the battery. Even though this inductive charging technology wiped off wired charging, it still needs an electric vehicle to be charged under a “stop” motion. This may not meet the needs of public transportation, while city buses need to be charged more often due to high power consumption and commute interruption due to “charging” needs are not practical.

A solution to solve the charging needs for public transportation can be in-pavement charging while driving. The magnetic field created by a high-frequency alternate current is picked up by a compatible coil on an electric vehicle. During driving, the receiver installed at the bottom of the electric vehicle converts the magnetic field back to electricity to power the motor directly to save the battery use or it can also be used to recharge the battery.

This proposal aims to develop a magnetizable concrete, which not only can be used as a concrete cover to protect those embedded coils but can also be part of the charging system to amplify magnetic energy to improve the charging efficiency of the in-pavement charging system as a whole (see Fig. 1). Unlike a traditional smart pavement that uses pressure or high temperature to generate energy, the magnetizable concrete is a highly permeable material consisting of ferrite and cement.

Figure 1: Concept of magnetizable concrete

US DOT Priorities:

By developing an in-pavement charging system that enables charging while driving, this project addresses the shortage of electric vehicle charging stations, thus promoting cleaner transportation and reduced emissions. The innovative use of magnetizable concrete to protect embedded coils and amplify magnetic energy represents a breakthrough in infrastructure technology, enhancing charging efficiency. This project not only supports environmental preservation by encouraging electric vehicle adoption but also advances the stability and sustainability of transportation infrastructure, particularly for public transportation in vulnerable communities.


Ferrite, the key component of the proposed magnetizable concrete, determines the property and the quality of the final product. There are four classes of ferrites: spinel ferrites, garnet ferrites, hexaferrites, and ortho ferrites. Selection of the proper type of ferrite will be the first task of the proposed study. The mix design of such a concrete (proportions of cement and ferrite powders) will be optimized to achieve the best magnetic properties of the pavement. The dispersion of ferrite powders (or other magnetic particles) in concrete will be monitored and considered as one of the key elements that governs the magnetizability of the pavement. Correlations among the mix proportion, mixing protocol, mixing duration, in-place casting, and particle dispersion will be established. The developed correlation should provide our professional community a guideline to initiate regulations or design codes of magnetizable pavement to be used in public transportation system.


There are many benefits of promoting electric vehicles. Predominantly, since it does not contain the typical liquid fuel components, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank that is used in a traditional vehicle, an electric vehicle emits no exhaust from a tailpipe. This cut in exhaust emission will reduce CO2 footprint significantly to mitigate the greenhouse effect.

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