Detroit Installs Stretch of 'Wireless' EV-Charging Roadway

Dec 12, 2023

The Motor City, aka Detroit, is now home to the first road that can charge an electric vehicle (EV) that simply rolls over it.

For now, the .25-mile route may be one small step for the US auto market. But if put to widespread use, “wireless charging” could go a long way to fixing key constraints in EV technology. These include the clunky process of stopping over and over to charge pricey EVs.

"It may seem small now, but it's a huge step in how to figure out how do we bring this to scale." Joshua Sirefman, CEO of a local “mobility innovation district” management company called Michigan Central, stated this to reporters. 

The road looks like any other stretch of asphalt. But it's lined with charging coils beneath. The coils are activated to transfer electricity to the battery of an EV that comes in contact with the road’s surface. It works when the car is moving. It also works when the car is parked. The tech was developed by an Israeli startup. The company is called Electreon. The startup partnered with the state of Michigan to install the charging coils. The former put up $4 million of the project cost. It totaled $5.9 million.

In the future, the high-tech stretch of road on 14th Street will become open for public use. But only after a series of real-world tests are finished. In 2024, the state plans to rebuild Michigan Avenue to include wireless charging sections along the route.

Electreon states these novel roadways aren’t meant to replace newly installed charging stations around the US. But it could function as a range extender for EVs. This might help automakers reduce battery sizes. In turn, these cars might become less pricey.

Reflect: What are some of the pros and cons of cars that charge while driving? How might this impact the way people use and think about transportation in the future?

The story is mostly about _______. (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. the history of Michigan's roads
b. the benefits of electric vehicles
c. the importance of traditional gas-powered cars
d. new technology for charging electric cars while driving
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