Nov. 29, 2023
Detroit is now home to the country’s first chunk of road that can wirelessly charge an electric vehicle (EV), whether it’s parked or moving.
Why it matters: Wireless charging on an electrified roadway could remove one of the biggest hassles of owning an EV: the need to stop and plug in regularly.
- Electrified roads could also be helpful in keeping electric buses, delivery vans, long-haul trucks and robotaxis operating around the clock.
Driving the news: Officials on Wednesday celebrated the completed installation of inductive-charging coils made by Israeli startup Electreon on a quarter-mile stretch of 14th Street in Detroit’s Michigan Central innovation district.
- The road will be used to test and perfect Electreon’s wireless-charging technology in a real-world environment before making it available to the public in the next few years.
- In 2024, Michigan will begin seeking bids to rebuild part of US-12 (Michigan Avenue), where additional inductive charging is to be installed.
How it works: When an EV equipped with an approved receiver nears the in-road charging segments, the road transfers electricity wirelessly through a magnetic field.
- The electricity is then transferred as energy to the vehicle’s battery.
- It works whether the vehicle is parked (static charging) or driving (dynamic charging).
Of note: You don’t have to worry about getting zapped by coming in contact with the pavement; it’s safe for drivers, pedestrians and wildlife, Electreon says.
Context: Electreon is one of more than 60 tech and mobility startups that are members of Detroit Newlab, an innovation hub anchored by the once-dilapidated Michigan Central train station currently under renovation by Ford.
- Its wireless charging technology is already being tested in several cities in Europe, Israel and China.
The bottom line: With the first (albeit short) electric roadway in the U.S., Detroit continues to stake its claim as America’s transportation innovation hub.