In Detroit, inductive charging technology will be coupled to two short roads, making it the first wireless electric road system (ERS) in the US. The road will be able to charge electric vehicles that attach special receivers while they are driving. The road will be fully functional in 2023.
The road will be embedded with coils that transfer magnetic energy to receivers that will charge the electric vehicle’s battery, both at rest and while traveling.
“We’re the auto capital. We continue to push technology advancements,” said Michele Mueller, a senior project manager at Michigan Department of Transportation, as reported by Fast Company.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer first announced the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot in September 2021. Michigan and its partner in the project, Electreon signed a 5-year agreement to upgrade and manage the ERS in September 2022.
Although Stefan Tongur, vice president of business development at Electreon, said the technology might charge more slowly than typical charging stations, it could provide continuous charging of electric vehicles. This saves less time spent stopping at charging stations.
ERS technology is expected to increase the driving range of electric cars. In particular, the technology makes it easier for larger commercial vehicles to electrify, because they can install smaller, cheaper batteries.
The math, instead of paying $150,000 for batteries for each long haul semi-truck, smaller batteries that can be recharged while the truck is hauling goods will only cost about $15,000 per truck.
The pilot trial will be free. Once this technology is widely implemented, ERS will connect to the driver’s vehicle or smartphone to allow them to accept or reject charging. Charging costs are calculated per kilowatt, similar to a typical charging station.
The pilot project will also look at the benefits of ERS and possible pressure on the grid, costs of upgrading the technology, and how the technology is implemented.
“The potential for electrifying roads and cities is practically endless and working together with MDOT we are reshaping the future of transportation,” Oren Ezer, CEO and co-founder of Electreon
Similar projects will also be tested in other states, including Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Utah, in the coming years.