Michigan Seeks to Introduce Wireless Charging Highway for EVs

Michigan state is looking to introduce a wireless charging highway in Detroit that will charge modified electric vehicles (“EVs”) when they drive on it. The state will work with Electreon Wireless, an Israeli startup, to implement the infrastructure. The company said that it has already applied similar technology in other countries including Italy, Germany, Sweden and Israel.

The project was first mentioned by Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer at Motor Bella in 2021. The project involves Electreon Wireless working with Ford and DTE to electrify about a mile-long road located around Detroit’s Michigan Central Terminal. Ford is planning to convert the abandoned terminal into its “mobility innovation district.”

Through a press release, the governor said that she is happy to see her state lead out on these groundbreaking initiatives, stating that it would lead to a creation of “new business opportunities and high-tech jobs.” The state intends to cover $1.9 million of the project cost, and it is expected to be functional by 2023.

Electric vehicles equipped with special receivers will get charged as they drive or rest on the road. Through inductive charging, copper coils that are placed under the road will transfer the energy through a magnetic frequency to the receiver on the electric car.  A small car would need one receiver while a large truck would require at least five. The cost of installing the receiver onto electric vehicles is estimated to be about $3,000 per car, but Electreon told Axios that it would get the price closer to around $1,500.

Electreon Wireless vice president Stefan Tongur was “thankful to be selected” by the state’s Department of Transportation in implementing the first wireless system in the United States. He also added that the partnership would prevent Detroit’s EV infrastructure from becoming outdated as it is scalable and involves “plug-free” charging.

Earlier reports have revealed that Electreon is one of six companies looking to benefit from a growing market that is expected to reach $207.5 billion in the next decade. Wireless charging technologies have been used in toothbrushes and in the manufacture of phones by companies such as Apple and Samsung. However, because hardware is expensive and hard to manage, the systems hadn’t previously found their way into larger electronics. It is reported that researchers at Cornell University are looking into making a wireless charging infrastructure that would rely on electric fields instead of magnetic waves.

This project shows the state’s efforts in leading the future of mobility through the development of EV infrastructure. Whitmer said that EV adoption is “the next piece to the puzzle for sustainability.”

As such innovative EV charging technologies become widely available, motorists are likely to have fewer objections against electric vehicles, and manufacturers such as ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLO) could see increasing demand for their vehicles.

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