Detroit
Startups
Government
November 29, 2023
By

Electreon Unveils Nation's First Public EV-Charging Roadway in front of Newlab at Michigan Central

Detroit, MI is home to the country’s first wireless-charging public roadway for electric vehicles thanks to Electreon and many key partners.

In a groundbreaking (literally!) collaboration between Newlab member Electreon and various stakeholders, Detroit's 14th Street is now home to the nation's first wireless-charging public roadway with the installation of inductive-charging coils. These coils, situated between Marantette and Dalzelle streets, can to charge electric vehicles (EVs) equipped with Electreon receivers as they navigate the road.

The project was a collaborative effort with the State of Michigan and MDOT, the City of Detroit, Michigan Central, Ford, Mcity, Jacobs, Next Energy, DTE, and others.

The wireless-charging technology, deployed on 14th Street, serves as a real-world testing ground to perfect the system before making it publicly available in the coming years. The collaborative effort aims to address challenges such as limited EV range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs. The project is a significant step toward establishing a zero-emission mobility future where EVs become the norm.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a proponent of electrification, announced the pilot initiative in September 2021. MDOT and Electreon have committed to a five-year partnership to develop the electric road system (ERS), testing the technology on Michigan roads.

Electreon's wireless charging technology utilizes inductive coupling between copper coils beneath the road surface and receivers on EVs. As a vehicle with a receiver approaches the in-road charging segments, electricity is transferred wirelessly through a magnetic field to the vehicle's battery. This can occur either when the vehicle is parked (static charging) or in motion (dynamic charging), ensuring a controlled energy transfer only to vehicles that require it. Each coil is activated only when a vehicle with an approved receiver passes over it.

The initial installation on 14th Street, owned by the City of Detroit, covers a quarter-mile segment of wireless charging roadway. Adjacent to the Newlab at Michigan Central Building, housing over 60 tech and mobility startups, this location facilitates further testing and advancement of the wireless charging technology. Future plans include seeking bids to rebuild part of US-12 (Michigan Avenue) in 2024, incorporating additional inductive charging.

As Michigan positions itself as the auto capital of the world, the wireless charging revolution is expected to accelerate the electrification of vehicles and roadways nationwide. Extensive testing of the inductive charging technology along 14th Street is set to continue through 2023, with thorough examinations of efficiency and operations expected in early 2024 using a Ford E-Transit electric commercial van provided by Ford Motor Co. Equipped with the Electreon receiver, this testing phase will explore potential long-term public transportation opportunities.

MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich highlighted the significance of developing electrified roadways as a catalyst for EV acceptance, supporting both fleet operations and passenger travel. The collaborative efforts of private industry partners, the City of Detroit, and MDOT signal a move toward a more sustainable future with fewer emissions, marking another chapter in Detroit's legacy of transportation innovation.

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