Story at a glance
- The technology works similarly to how wireless charging devices send power to phones.
- Copper coils are installed under the asphalt of a road to transfer energy from the electrical grid to receivers that can be mounted underneath any electric vehicle, in turn, automatically charging the vehicle’s battery.
- The pilot program is a first in the U.S.
The Motor City will be the site of the nation’s first public road capable of wirelessly charging electric vehicles as they drive over the pavement, Michigan state officials announced Tuesday.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) awarded a contract to develop and construct a 1-mile stretch of the wireless in-road charging system near downtown Detroit to Israeli-based company Electreon, a developer of wireless charging infrastructure.
Electreon’s technology works similarly to how wireless charging devices send power to phones.
Copper coils are installed under the asphalt of a road to transfer energy from the electrical grid to receivers that can be mounted underneath any electric vehicle, in turn, automatically charging the vehicle’s battery. The road can juice up vehicles that are in motion or stationery, according to the company.
“As we aim to lead the future of mobility and electrification by boosting electric vehicle production and lowering consumer costs, a wireless in-road charging system is the next piece to the puzzle for sustainability,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in a statement announcing the news.
The pilot program will be hosted by automaker Ford in its Michigan Central mobility innovation district, although the exact location is unclear at this time.
MDOT is putting up $1.9 million to fund development of the road and Electreon is contributing an unspecified amount.
The project is expected to be operational by 2023.
Proponents of the new technology say electrified roadways could accelerate the adoption of EVs by consumers and businesses in the U.S. by “eliminating range anxiety” and lowering total costs of EV ownership.
Electreon is conducting similar pilot programs in Germany, Italy and Sweden and is working on a charging network for hundreds of public buses in Tel Aviv.
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