Pilot project in Discovery Park tests new, more practical techniques for electric vehicle charging.
It is a powerful partnership. Purdue’s Joint Transportation Research Program is internationally respected for successful industry and academic collaborations. And the German company Magment Concrete Wireless is known for innovations in magnetic materials for charging electronic devices. Together, this interdisciplinary team seeks to build a better transportation infrastructure.
The group will be exploring test cases in micromobility scooters, autonomous electric utility vehicle equipment and robotic shop-floor delivery systems.
“We are excited to work with the Magment team on the evaluation of e-scooter wireless charging technology” says Darcy Bullock, Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and JTRP director.
“We want to reduce our reliance on fossil-fuel vehicles for picking up e-scooters for charging. This pilot is a critical step in understanding how this technology can be scaled for larger electric vehicles.” Jack Bell, an undergraduate researcher working for Bullock and the JTRP since January 2019, recently joined the Magment-Purdue research team. Leading up to this spring, Bell assisted Bullock by collecting data and writing research papers, one on pedestrian safety and another on speed distributions for micromobility vehicles. “My experience doing undergraduate research has been impactful in helping me figure out my future career in civil engineering,” Bell says. “This is a good example of research and academics starting to integrate.”
The partnership will open the door to future research opportunities for students. Hard tech, high reward in the world of startups, electric vehicle research is known as “hard tech.” Hard-tech problems have great potential to change the world, but the problems are complex. The solutions, aimed at an uncertain future, tend to be risky. Magment is developing magnetized cement that can repower electric vehicles more efficiently than traditional charging systems. The growth of electric transportation systems demands faster and lower-cost solutions.
Magment CEO Mauricio Esguerra says it was only natural to partner with Purdue on this project. “Purdue is the ultimate place to advance innovation,” he says. “For a company like Magment to collaborate with so many experts at Purdue is incredible.”
Magment is one of 10 companies included in the inaugural class of the Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars, a three-month investment, mentorship and collaboration program in Indianapolis. “Purdue has been an ideal partner to help advance all of the hard-tech startups in the program,” says Jonathan Schalliol, director of new ventures for the Heritage Group. The research takes place at Discovery Park, an innovation area on the Purdue campus focused on advancing powerful interdisciplinary research and next-generation technologies in collaboration with others.