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Electric trucks and in-road charging technology to be tested in Colorado

Joe Wertz
StateImpact Oklahoma

Just weeks after Anheuser-Busch took an automated semi-truck full of beer for a test run on Interstate 25 in Colorado, state officials are planning another test drive – this one, as the Wall Street Journal reports, to test electric-powered trucks and battery charging technology capable of powering electric trucks as they drive.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is currently working with infrastructure developer Aecom  Inc. to determine sites that will be used to test in-road battery charging technology – coil buried in the road - capable of powering electric trucks equipped with receiving coils, as they drive.  

Peter Kozinski, director of RoadX, a Colorado program that funds use of new technologies aimed at easing congestion and improving road safety, who was involved a couple of months ago with Anheuser-Busch and Uber Technologies Inc.’s first commercial shipment of beer by self-driving truck, said several sites in Denver are being considered for the project, including an area near Denver International Airport that is heavy with freight traffic.

The goal, according to the pilot program’s developers, is to reduce the weight of in-vehicle batteries and extend the distances that electric trucks can travel and the focus is on freight-moving because it offers a way to most dramatically impact air quality, as traditional freight-moving vehicles emit the most pollution.

Charging equipment can either be retrofit on electric vehicles or built into new trucks, but it comes at a high price, just like the technology and construction needed to outfit miles of roadway, the Wall Street Journal reports.