Driving into the future with wireless EV charging

Parking space for an electric car. Parking sign. Incentives for electric vehicles.

As home to the Big Three Automakers, auto manufacturing and innovation are at the heart of who we are as Michiganders. We put the world on wheels. In this 21st century, Michigan is leading the charge on investments in electric vehicles (EVs). While we’re going down this road, we also need to make sure we upgrade our nation’s EV infrastructure. It’s exactly why, with the leadership of President Biden, we passed and signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and invested $7.5 billion to build a national network of EV chargers. But we can do more. I’m expanding on this progress with my new legislation, the Wireless EV Charging Grant Program Act of 2022.   

This first-of-its-kind bill creates a $50 million grant program with the Department of Transportation for public EV wireless charging projects. These non-disruptive, cost-effective, and community-informed projects will install wireless charging pads on roads, bus routes, parking lots and more. Wireless EV charging pads work similar to wireless phone chargers where you just have to place the object on top of the charger for it to work — it’s seamless. There’s also “static” charging where the vehicle charges while it’s standing still, and “dynamic” charging where the vehicle charges while it’s moving.  

With this innovation, we are improving the lives of the American people, lowering costs and tackling our nation’s climate crisis. Some worry that EVs won’t be convenient or accessible. However, wireless charging can help by making it easy to charge on-the-go, without having to leave the car and plug anything in, while working in all weather conditions. It can also be extremely useful for vehicles with set routes, such as buses, trucks, and fleet vehicles — like the U.S. Postal Service. Wireless charging extends the range and operating times of these vehicles and reduces the need for bigger, expensive batteries, which helps lower costs. As we expand the EV wireless charging infrastructure and lower the barriers to electrify vehicles, we’re ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and protecting our planet.  

We’re already seeing this technology implemented across the country. A start-up at Utah State University successfully built an electric bus with lighter, cheaper batteries that is charged with wireless EV technology. In Washington state, electric buses park on top of wireless charging pads to recharge along their route. There are also multiple wireless EV charging pilot projects in California, including at the Port of LASolano County and Antelope Valley. And the Michigan and Indiana departments of Transportation have announced funding for dynamic wireless charging road projects. 

There’s so much focus on electric vehicles right now because we are in a global race to see who can dominate this market. The United States cannot afford to fall behind. Over the past year, we’ve seen auto manufacturers — like GM, Ford and Stellantis — make commitments to ramp up EV production. The federal government needs the same mindset when it comes to EV infrastructure.  

This push for wireless EV charging isn’t to downplay the importance of plug-in chargers — there’s no doubt that we need them. So, let’s invest in both. Instead of playing catch up, let’s establish the foundation and get ahead of the game. That is what my bill will accomplish. We’re engaging with industry leaders and promoting public-private partnerships to innovate in the EV wireless charging space. It’s all hands on deck for the United States to compete globally and win the future. 

Brenda Lawrence represents Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. 

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