Cement giant to trial ‘breakthrough’ magnetisable concrete designed to enable EVs to wirelessly charge while driving on roads

Cement giant Holcim is teaming up with German start-up Magment with a view to developing innovative ‘electric roads’ technology that could enable electric vehicles (EVs) to charge up wirelessly from the ground while still driving, the two companies revealed yesterday.

Holcim, the world’s largest cement compamy, said it planned to work with wireless EV charging specialist Magment to improve its “magnetisable concrete technology” for road surfaces, a specially-designed road surface material jointly developed by the two firms.

The “unique concrete” offers high magnetic permeability and could therefore house inductive charging technology for powering up battery cars while on-the-go. Alternatively, it could also be deployed to make electrified industrial floors that could recharge robots or forklift trucks in factories and warehouses, Holcim explained.

The companies said the “breakthrough” concrete surface material – which is now set to be tested at Purdue University in Indiana, USA – could reduce the need for charging stations, while also negating the need for drivers to halt their journeys to power up their batteries.

“By developing superior grades of our magnetisable concrete technology we will be a key enabler for the sustainable, electric transportation of the future,” said Mauricio Esguerra, co-founder and CEO of Magment.

Wireless EV charging technology is gaining increasing interest, with a number of firms worldwide seeking to develop and trial the technology. For example, last year a fleet of electric vans began road testing wireless charging technology in Edinburgh as part of a £1.6m project funded by the UK government.

The partnership with Magment forms part of Holcim’s efforts to become a net zero emission company by 2050, having last year been one of the first firms in the world to validate its emissions goal with the Science-Based Targets initiative as part of the new net zero certification scheme.

In addition, the Swiss firm last year adopted a raft of science-based nature targets, which include goals to become a ‘nature positive’ company by the end of the decade and to significantly reduce the intensity of its water use.

“At Holcim we are innovating to put concrete at the center of our world’s transition to net zero,” said Edelio Bermejo, head of Holcim’s global innovation center. “With Magment, we are excited to be developing concrete solutions to accelerate electric mobility. Partnering with start-ups all over the world we are constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation to lead the way in sustainability.”

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