Electric vehicles are often judged by how far they can go on a single charge. Just as drivers worry about running out of gas, EV drivers worry about running out of charge when covering long distances. But, if the road you were driving on charged your car, it wouldn’t much matter how far away from the next charging station. Electreon, an Israeli company, has built such roads, and they’re bringing the first mile of wireless charging road in the U.S. to the Motor City.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer announced the stretch of wireless charging road will open in Detroit’s Michigan Central innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood in 2023.
“As we aim to lead the future of mobility and electrification by boosting electric vehicle production and lowering consumer costs, a wireless in-road charging system is the next piece to the puzzle for sustainability,” she said.
Electreon, which has projects in Israel, Sweden, Germany, and Italy, has delivered only short stretches of wireless charging road so far, but its goals include long-haul use cases. The first mile in Detroit will be another proving ground to test its invention. The system works via a network of copper coils built under the asphalt. These transfer energy from the electric grid to vehicles that have receivers installed to conduct the energy through to the engine and battery.
“We are excited to enter the U.S. market and collaborate with industry leaders to further enhance the country’s mobility ecosystem,” Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s U.S. vice president of business development, said. “Michigan’s automotive industry roots built a foundation for mobility innovation, and we’re thrilled to join this community of experts.”
So far, public buses and some freight trucks have been the only vehicles to use the system, but Electreon envisions all EV types being capable of using the wireless charging roads. The Michigan Central mile will provide the opportunity for experimentation.
“Hosting the first wireless charging road system in the U.S. as part of the open platform we are providing at Michigan Central will serve as a magnet to attract innovators to test on this nationally significant asset joining in the work with Electreon, Next Energy, and many others, and also show people the value electrification can create,” said Carolina Pluszczynski, Michigan Central development director. “We are excited to actively work with Electreon and source pilot opportunities with such innovators to leverage the open wireless charging system.”