The University of Utah has officially joined the Utah State University-based Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification NSF Research Center (ASPIRE) as an affiliated campus partner. 

Masood Parvania, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will act as the site director at the University of Utah. Parvania’s work with the center focuses on integrating electric vehicles into the power grid operation. His group has been involved in projects on the topic with Professor Regan Zane, Director of the ASPIRE Center, since 2016. This official collaboration will allow the scope of the research and work done by the team to expand and broaden on a larger scale.  

Masood Parvania, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

“We are very excited to continue our work with the ASPIRE center on a larger scale with this new formal partnership,” says Parvania. “The work done in the Utah Smart Energy Laboratory (U-Smart) at the U focuses on smart energy projects, ranging from power system flexibility to transportation electrification; we are looking forward to expanding our research with this new partnership and seeing what opportunities it brings to many students and faculty here at the U.” 

Other researchers involved in this partnership include Dr. Cathy Liu, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Jairo Giraldo, Research Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Tabitha Benney, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Daniel Mendoza, Research Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, who respectively bring expertise on transportation analytics, cyber security of electric transportation system, equitable transition to electrified transportation, and air quality measurement and modeling.   

Zane also expressed his gratitude and excitement for the partnership. 

Regan Zane, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of ASPIRE Center

“We could not be more excited to welcome our collaborators at the U to the ASPIRE team,” Zane said. “Formalizing this partnership has been a long time coming. We have enjoyed collaboration with Dr. Parvania and his many colleagues at the U since before the creation of ASPIRE. This agreement is an important step in broadening our collaborations in electrified transportation as we strive for a brighter future with clean air and equitable access to low-cost transportation and good jobs.” 

Parvania and his team will assist ASPIRE with their main goal of electrifying roadways and vehicles, including dynamic charging, which allows electric vehicles (EV) to operate for longer times and distances without stopping for recharging. EVs equipped with dynamic wireless charging technology will have substantially smaller batteries, reducing cost, weight and environmental impact. Additionally, on-the-go charging of EVs will provide a tremendous flexible resource to electric utilities in support of decarbonizing the grid. 

“I am delighted to have faculty from the U and USU collaborating on this research,” said Richard B. Brown, dean of the University of Utah’s John and Marcia Price College of Engineering. “Bringing together the expertise of faculty members across universities creates a very strong team.” 

“This will be a wonderful opportunity for students of both universities to participate in cutting-edge research around electrified transportation and dynamic changing,” said Jagath Kaluarachchi, Dean of the USU College of Engineering. “We look forward to this partnership with the U and the experiences it will provide.” 

Currently, five pilots are ongoing in the United States, being led by ASPIRE and ASPIRE partners: one in Utah testing electric trucks, one in Utah on battery-electric trains, one on roadway electrification in Florida, one in Michigan led by ASPIRE partner Electreon to develop and test wireless charging infrastructure near Michigan Central Station, and another inductive charging project in Indiana led by ASPIRE partner Purdue University. 


The NSF ASPIRE Engineering Research Center was launched in September 2020 with a $50 million over 10 years grant from the National Science Foundation with its main purpose to support widespread adoption of electrified transportation through developing technologies and clearing barriers leading to low cost, ubiquitous charging infrastructure. A key aspect of the ASPIRE research portfolio is dynamic wireless power transfer, a research and development area where USU and its ASPIRE partner universities have led advances for many years. The ASPIRE core university partners (Purdue University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Texas at El Paso, and University of Auckland, New Zealand) are joined by affiliated campus partners and more than 60 industry, government and non-profit members from all sectors of the electric transportation ecosystem. 

Image of the ASPIRE Center

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About the University of Utah 

Founded in 1850, The University of Utah offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate degree programs to over 30,000 students. As a preeminent research and teaching institution, the University cultivates an academic environment in which the highest standards of intellectual integrity and scholarship are practiced. For the ninth year in a row, research funding continues to grow across campus. The U’s research portfolio has reached a historic high of $686 million in research funding (FY22).  

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