Michigan Unveils America’s First Wireless Electrified Roadway Charging the Future of Sustainable Transportation

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A literal groundbreaking achievement took place on November 29 as the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) successfully implemented the inaugural wireless electrified roadway. This cutting-edge technology operates akin to wireless charging pads commonly found for electronic devices. Within this innovative system, charging coils, linked to the power grid, emit energy to receiver plates situated beneath cars or trucks, ultimately transferring the energy to their batteries.

This significant milestone is a result of a collaborative effort involving the City of Detroit, MDOT, and Electron—an Israeli company renowned for its development of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles. Dr. Stefan Tongur, Vice President of Business Development for Electreon, expressed excitement about leading the development and deployment of America’s first wireless charging road. He emphasized the partnership’s testament to collaborative efforts involving the State of Michigan, MDOT, the City of Detroit, Michigan Central, Ford, Mcity, Jacobs, Next Energy, DTE, and others. Tongur highlighted the potential of wireless charging to address challenges such as limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs, paving the way for a future where electric vehicles (EVs) are the norm.

The electrified roadway spans a quarter mile along 14th Street near the Michigan Central building in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood. Addressing concerns about safety, Electreon assured the public that the technology activates only when a vehicle with a receiver passes over the coil, ensuring energy transfer only to vehicles requiring it.

The collaboration between Michigan and Electreon, announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in September 2021, aims to establish the nation’s first wireless charging infrastructure. As part of a five-year plan, Electreon and MDOT will work toward creating an electric road system. Chief Mobility Officer Justine Johnson of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification commended Michigan’s history of innovation in mobility, asserting that the deployment of Electreon’s inductive charging marks a pioneering moment in the United States.

The testing phase for the wireless charging technology is scheduled to commence in 2024, using a Ford E-Transit electric commercial van. This testing will assess efficiency, operational aspects, and explore long-term public transportation opportunities. MDOT envisions positioning Michigan and Detroit as leaders in transportation innovation, with plans to incorporate this technology into other roads in the future. The wireless electrified roadway not only represents a leap forward in sustainable transportation but also underscores Michigan’s commitment to fostering a zero-emission mobility future.


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