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CFX will test a possible future for EV driving, charging as you go

The likely route of the Lake/Orange Expressway, which is going through design phases now. Map: CFX
The likely route of the Lake/Orange Expressway, which is going through design phases now. Map: CFX

When the five-mile Lake/Orange Expressway is completed in 2026, it will have one mile that's electrified for charging electric vehicles.

Executive Director Laura Kelley of the Central Florida Expressway Authority said that pilot program will cost about $10 million. The toll road's overall cost? $460 million.

"This is one of many sustainability features on the Lake/Orange Expressway," Kelley said. "We also believe that this is something that's worthy of research for the future, really for the future of freight movement."

Kelley said that, down the road, it could lead to freight being shipped across the country without the need to stop and refuel.

The one mile of wireless charging will use technology patented by the European company Evolgy. The expressway authority is building it in partnership with ASPIRE, an engineering research center supported by the National Science Foundation at Utah State University.

Kelley, who is chair-elect of the ASPIRE excutive advisory board, and CFX governing board chairman Sean Parks are in Logan, Utah, this week for ASPIRE's annual meeting.

Managing Director Tallis Blalack said ASPIRE has a few other pilot projects, as well, "focused on induction charging in highways" in Indiana, Detroit and Salt Lake City.

Blalack compares it to powering a cellphone or electric toothbrush by placing it on a charger.

"Those are both wireless charging technologies," he said. "This technology is similar, except we can charge a semi doing 70 mph down the highway."

Blalack says it's part of an EV vision that includes on-the-go charging for apartment-dwellers, cheaper cars with smaller batteries, and less dependence on batteries and materials from China.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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