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Detroit’s Wireless Charging Road Is First in the US

Detroit unveils a quarter mile of 14th Street in the Motor City that enables equipped EVs to charge while on the move.

Michael C. Anderson

November 30, 2023

2 Min Read
Detroit's wireless-charging roadway.
Detroit's wireless-charging roadway.Image courtesy City of Detroit

The City of Detroit, with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT), and Israel-based charging technology developer Electreon announced the location of the first US location of a wireless charging road—a quarter-mile stretch of Motor City roadway that enables properly equipped electric vehicles (EVs) to recharge while driving, parking, or idling. Copper inductive charging coils create a magnetic field that allows EVs equipped with receivers to charge up their batteries while driving, idling, or parking.

Using Electreon technology, 14th Street between Marantette and Dalzelle streets in the historic Corktown area is now equipped with inductive-charging coils that will charge EVs equipped with Electreon receivers as they drive on the road. The road will be used to test the wireless-charging technology in a real-world environment and perfect it ahead of making it available to the public in the next few years.

How it works

Electreon's wireless charging technology relies on inductive coupling between copper coils beneath the road surface and receivers on electric vehicles. As a vehicle with a receiver approaches the charging segments of the road, electricity is wirelessly transferred through a magnetic field, charging the vehicle's battery. These charging segments facilitate wireless electricity transfer during both static charging when the vehicle is parked and dynamic charging when it is in motion. The electric road prioritizes safety for drivers, pedestrians, and wildlife. Activation of each coil occurs only when a vehicle with an approved receiver passes over it, ensuring controlled energy transfer exclusively to vehicles in need.

Related:When Will Wireless EV Charging Hit it Big?

“We're excited to spearhead the development and deployment of America's first wireless charging road,” stated Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s vice president of business development in a City of Detroit news release. “This milestone stands as a testament to our collaborative efforts with the State of Michigan and MDOT [Michigan Dept. of Transportation], City of Detroit, Michigan Central, Ford, Jacobs, Next Energy, DTE and others. Alongside Michigan's automotive expertise, we'll demonstrate how wireless charging unlocks widespread EV adoption, addressing limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs. This project paves the way for a zero-emission mobility future, where EVs are the norm, not the exception.”

The pilot program, which was first announced in 2021 by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, uses technology developed by Electreon, which has wireless road projects underway in Israel, Germany, Italy, and Sweden as well.

Two of the biggest impediments to widespread EV acceptance in the US have been worry about lack of charging facilities and frustration with the length of time it takes to recharge. This short stretch of street may be the beginning of a road out of those concerns.

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

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