Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Towards an Infinite-Range Vehicle: Roadway-Powered Electric Vehicles

EPA Grant Number: FP917292
Title: Towards an Infinite-Range Vehicle: Roadway-Powered Electric Vehicles
Investigators: Fuller, Micah D
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2014
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Entrepreneurship , Academic Fellowships



Exportation of American autopian society has helped create a world where fossil fuel-based motor vehicles threaten people around the globe and pose a significant challenge to global air quality and climate change goals. Electric vehicles have the potential to drastically reduce emissions; however, their adoption is limited by range and recharge issues. This research analyzes a comprehensive approach to solving range and recharge issues through roadway-powered electric vehicles (RPEVs) that can inductively be charged while moving along a roadway.


Traffic demand modeling and dynamic programming is employed under a GIS framework to map and analyze an optimized system in California. A time versus power demand profile is generated and used to simulate the system’s impact on the electricity grid. Numerical modeling techniques are employed to investigate the impact of the RPEV system on pavement performance and service life and the impact of dynamic stresses on the embedded RPEV system. Key details of each system outlay will be determined based on financial, energy, societal and technical issues. A comprehensive solution based on feasibility criteria will be formulated and discussed in terms of its ability to provide comprehensive support to widespread EV adoption.

Expected Results:

This research will demonstrate the potential for an inductive power transfer system embedded in the roadway to support and foster rapid and widespread adoption of electric vehicles in advancement of sustainable transportation goals. Anticipated results are expected to elucidate: how an infinite-range electric vehicle can become a reality by employing a comprehensive approach that alleviates range and recharge issues; how recent advances in wireless power transfer theory and power electronics technology can provide for a safe, economic and technically feasible system; how an inductive power transfer system can be just as efficient as plugging in and could replace the need for plugs (residential and public charging stations would all be inductive, utilizing the conductor beneath the vehicle for both moving and stationary charging); and that the electricity grid has the capacity to accommodate a full system deployment of infinite-range electric vehicles in California.

Potential to Further Environmental / Human Health Protection

Widespread adoption of zero emissions vehicles is crucial to climate and air quality goals. Exacerbated by an affinity for fossil-fuel based vehicular travel and electricity generation, humans live in a world where particulate matter is estimated to cause 3.5 million cardiopulmonary mortalities per year and where overwhelming reductions in CO2 emissions must be attained if the effects of climate change are to be limited. Roadwaypowered electric vehicles have the potential to save millions of lives worldwide by significantly reducing tailpipe emissions, to meet climate goals by drastically curtailing CO2 emissions and to usher in a new era of sustainable transportation fueled by renewable energy.

Supplemental Keywords:

climate change, electric vehicle, inductive charging, range, recharge, infinite range, sustainable transportation, zero emissions, wireless power transfer, roadway powered electric vehicles