Michigan to build nation's first EV charging public road
The inductive charging technology, which will power electric vehicles as they drive over it, will be installed under a one-mile stretch of road in Detroit.
Michigan will soon become the first state in the country to introduce an electric road system (ERS) that will use inductive charging technology to wirelessly power electric vehicles (EVs) with as they drive over the pavement.
The ERS pilot, which is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., will be built on a one-mile stretch of road in Detroit, officials announced Feb. 1.
Electreon will be developing the pilot, which was first announced in September. MDOT will provide $1.9 million in funding toward the project, with Electreon contributing the remainder.
The company’s charging infrastructure, which uses under-road units built of copper coils, can charge all types of vehicles while they are both stationary or in motion.
As EVs drive over the ERS, the system transfers energy from the grid to the road. Receivers installed below the chassis of the EVs transmit the power to the engine and battery, and a roadside management unit facilitates data exchange with approaching vehicles. A cloud-based control unit manages communications between vehicles and management units.
Electrified roadways have the potential to accelerate adoption of EVs by enabling continuous vehicle operations and turning public streets into safe and sustainable shared energy platforms, Michigan officials said. As more vehicles begin to travel on the smart road, the technology could reduce the need for gas and charging stations, freeing up cityscapes and lowering the impact of air pollution. The project is expected to be fully operational by 2023.
This news comes as the Biden administration pushes an EV-centric infrastructure model that aims to have EVs make up 50% of vehicle sales by 2030.
Meanwhile, other governments have also been experimenting with EV charging infrastructure. In Indiana, researchers at the Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue University are using magnetizable concrete to provide a cleaner and more accessible method for wireless EV charging. Peachtree Corners, Ga., working with The Ray, developed a solar-powered roadway that produces 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for a Level 2 EV charger at city hall at no cost to EV motorists.
Electreon Vice President of Business Development Stefan Tongur said the company had plans to collaborate with California and New York “on charging infrastructure that’s vehicle agnostic and can be included in any electric vehicle.”
“Here in Michigan, embracing bold innovations that transform the future of mobility and electrification is a part of our DNA,” Michigan Chief Mobility Officer Trevor Pawl said. “We are thrilled to see how Electreon’s proposals become a nationwide model for how we can continue accelerating electric vehicle adoption and usher in a new generation of transportation technologies.”