EVs on highway ( By Ju Jae-young/Shutterstock.com)

Michigan to test EV-charging roadway

Michigan has become the latest state to explore powering electric vehicles with an inductive charging roadway, a technology that transmits power from coils embedded in the road to  vehicles as they drive over it.

A pilot project will further the development of a dynamic charging roadway, address concerns about EV’s limited driving range and serve as a model for expanded implementation. The project will turn “public streets into safe and sustainable shared energy platforms,” Michigan officials said in their announcement. 

In a request for proposals issued Sept. 28, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) stated that it is seeking “a systems solution approach” for the inductive vehicle charging pilot, including design, funding, construction, evaluation, testing, operation and maintenance.

The RFP calls for a one-mile stretch of road in either Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties that enables dynamic or hybrid dynamic and static charging for all modes of transportation. The deliverables include embedding the coils along the route and installing the semi-dynamic charging stations at end point terminals where vehicles can charge while standing still or queuing for parking lane. The vendor must also provide receivers and support for the vehicle integration.

The infrastructure must also support open industry standards for inductive charging and facilitate “development, deployment and user acceptance through interoperability and uniformity,” according to the RFP.

The vendor is expected to design and test a practical model for future implementation. Ideally, this innovation would be able to translate to “other corridors as part of a financially and environmentally sustainable transportation system,” the RFP said.

The final budget is still pending, but the vendor is expected to directly invest in the project. MDOT will provide $1.9 million in partial compensation, with the vendor financing operations and maintenance.

Michigan isn’t the first state to attempt expanding its EV charging infrastructure. Recently, the Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue University announced plans to test a wireless charging concrete highway.

Trevor Pawl, the chief mobility officer with Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification cited these developments as part of a larger transition in the EV space.

"We're in the midst of the most significant shift in the automotive industry since the Model T rolled off the assembly line more than a century ago," he said. "This electrified roadway has the potential to accelerate autonomous vehicles at scale and turn our streets into safe, sustainable, accessible and shared transportation platforms."

Read the full RFP here.

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.

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