Michigan's Roadway to Charge Electric Vehicles Set for 2023

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A planned Detroit roadway where electric vehicles (EVs) and trucks can park and recharge via a wireless device is developing in a new venture between Michigan and Israeli company Electreon. The Michigan Department of Transportation is providing $1.9 million toward a five-year pilot project with Electreon. This project involves establishing a scalable wireless in-road EV charging network (public).

State Transportation Director Paul Ajegba states that Michigan intends to become a national leader in creating a wireless in-road EV charging network: “We now can work toward better policy and regulatory framework that provides a welcoming environment for this unique technology. Ultimately, the research and work conducted on this project will help lead to large-scale deployment across Michigan and the U.S.”

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This development follows a February deal with Electreon to turn a one-mile section of road in Detroit’s Michigan Central District 14th Street and U.S. Route 12 (Michigan Avenue) into a wireless EV recharging road system. Project manager, Michele Mueller, explains only EVs equipped with an Electreon receiver will be able to recharge on the wireless electric road: “Once the infrastructure is installed, tested, and open to traffic, those vehicles would be able to utilize the system”.

In-road copper coil segments will be buried three inches under the surface and activated to transfer energy to an EV battery (through magnetic induction) in order to charge an EV as it moves (or parked above the coils).

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Since an EV’s speed affects the amount of electricity it receives while driving along the electric roadway, faster vehicles will receive less charging power as the coils will not have enough time to generate power for the EV.

Michigan is exploring electrifying state-owned vehicles by 2030, including EV trucks, vans, and cars. The Michigan Department of Transportation is also interested in learning how to leverage state and federal funding – which will be a likely grant to promote environmentally friendly practices.

Detroit’s wireless EV charging roadway is set to be fully operational by 2023.