Michigan is planning to develop a wireless, in-road, electric vehicle charging road by next year, according to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, which announced the plan today.
Electreon, a company from Israel, won the project’s rights to build an electric road system (ERS) in Detroit as part of the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot Program. Announced in September 2021, the Pilot Program “is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification that will deploy an electrified roadway system that allows electric buses, shuttles and vehicles to charge while driving, enabling electric vehicles to operate continuously without stopping to charge,” according to a press release regarding the plan.
The Pilot Program is now taking its first steps forward. Electreon will design, evaluate, iterate, test, and implement the program, aiming for its first projects to be completed by 2023. Electreon will collaborate with NextEnergy and Jacobs Engineering Group to develop a one-mile-long stretch of dynamic and stationary wireless EV charging in Detroit. The project is sponsored by Ford, DTE Energy, and the City of Detroit.
“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,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I am happy to see Michigan lead and keep building on these ground-breaking initiatives creating new business opportunities and high-tech jobs. Together, we will continue growing our economy and putting Michiganders first.”
The project is being funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which contributed $1.9 million toward the project. Electreon will contribute the remainder of the funds, but the amount is currently unknown. The company did not immediately return our request for comment, where we asked for information regarding its investment.
However, Electreon VP Stefan Tongur said, “We are proud and thankful to be selected by the Michigan Department of Transportation to lead and implement the first wireless electric road system in the United States. We’re excited to be transferring our success in wireless charging for a variety of electric fleets – from cars to buses and heavy-duty trucks – to this innovative project. There’s important work ahead with our partners in Detroit to develop scalable, ‘plug-free’ charging that will future-proof the city’s EV infrastructure.”
Wireless charging is something that has been discussed with some EV projects in the past. Most notably, the Tesla Semi has been proposed with a wireless charging system from Ideanomics, who developed a Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE) charging system for the Semi. The Tesla Semi was explicitly mentioned in Ideanomic’s initial documents regarding the WAVE system’s effectiveness and development, hinting that it could provide 500 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
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