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MDOT, City of Detroit and Electreon unveil nation’s first public EV-charging roadway at Michigan Central

2023
  • Mayor Duggan among those welcoming the future of roads to Michigan   
  • Technology charges EVs while they drive across the chargers imbedded in the pavement

 

Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Brad Wieferich and other partners celebrated a major milestone in the future of mobility and electrification today at the Michigan Central innovation district in Detroit, as crews have finished installing the nation’s first wireless-charging public roadway. 

Using technology from Electreon, 14th Street between Marantette and Dalzelle streets is now equipped with inductive-charging coils that will charge electric vehicles equipped with Electreon receivers as they drive on the road. The road will be used to test and perfect this wireless-charging technology in a real-world environment and perfect it ahead of making it available to the public in the next few years, helping to further establish Michigan and Detroit as leaders in innovation and technology.

"We're excited to spearhead the development and deployment of America's first wireless charging road," said Dr. Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s vice president of business development. "This milestone stands as a testament to our collaborative efforts with the State of Michigan and MDOT, 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 move to support electrification is widely supported by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who announced her support in February 2021, to build the first public in-road charging system in the United States. MDOT and Electreon have entered a five-year commitment to develop the electric road system (ERS), piloting the technology on Michigan roads.

EV Roadway pic1
The nation's first wireless charging road debuts in Detroit's Michigan Central innovation district on 14th Street.

 

Electreon’s wireless charging technology is based on inductive coupling between copper coils installed below the road surface and receivers installed on electric vehicles. When a car with a receiver nears the charging segments of road transfer electricity wirelessly through a magnetic field. This electricity is then transferred as energy to the vehicle's battery, charging it. These charging segments can transfer wireless electricity to the receiver either when the vehicle is parked (static charging) or is driving in-motion (dynamic charging). The electric road is safe for drivers, pedestrians and wildlife. Each coil in the road is activated only when a vehicle with an approved receiver passes over the coil. This ensures that energy transfer is controlled and provided only to vehicles that require it.                                         

“Michigan has always been at the forefront of innovation in mobility, and that forward-thinking is on display with the latest advances in inductive charging from Electreon – the first deployment of this electric vehicle charging technology in the United States,” said Chief Mobility Officer Justine Johnson, of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “This latest milestone supports the goals of the MI Future Mobility Plan to grow Michigan’s mobility leadership, and proves that companies like Electreon can test and deploy the newest innovations right here in Michigan.”

MDOT and Electreon – a Newlab at Michigan Central member company – agreed to install a combined mile of inductive-charging roadway in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood. 14th Street, owned and maintained by the City of Detroit, now has a quarter mile segment of wireless charging roadway. The charging road runs alongside the Newlab at Michigan Central Building, home to more than 60 tech and mobility startups, allowing for the further testing and advancement of this next-generation technology. In 2024, MDOT will begin seeking bids to rebuild part of Michigan Avenue (US-12), which will see additional inductive charging installed. Electreon has also installed two static inductive charging stations in front of Michigan Central Station, which will be able to charge Electreon-equipped vehicles while they are parked. 

EV Roadway pic2
Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison joined Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Brad Wieferich and other partners to celebrate the wireless charging roadway in Michigan Central's Innovation District in Detroit.

 

“We are excited to partner with MDOT, the City of Detroit and Electreon to bring the future of roads to Michigan,” said Michigan Central CEO Joshua Sirefman. “This is what Michigan Central is all about – not only convening key partners across the public and private sectors to fuel innovation and create jobs and investment in Detroit, but also providing the environment to safely test and hone technology like Electreon in real time and in the real world. It is through this collaboration and advancement that Michigan Central is helping to tackle global problems and fast-track solutions to many of our greatest mobility challenges.”

As the auto capital of the world, Michigan stands ready to lead the nationwide charge toward electrification of our vehicles and roadways. Partnering with industry to develop and test these new technologies will help develop the blueprint necessary to introduce wireless charging roads nationwide.

“Developing electrified roadways may be the catalyst to accelerate interest and acceptance of EVs for all consumers,” said MDOT Director, Bradley C. Wieferich. “Making it easier for EV users to find a reliable charging source without disrupting their commute supports both fleet operations and passenger travel. We’re proud to collaborate with private industry partners and the City of Detroit to support these important initiatives leading us toward a more sustainable future with fewer emissions.”

Remaining work along 14th Street is expected to continue through the end of 2023, with extensive testing of the inductive charging technology beginning in early 2024. Using an EV Transit shuttle provided by Ford Motor Co. and equipped with the Electreon receiver needed to collect a charge from the inductive coils, staff will test the efficiency and operations of the shuttle, and potential long-term public transportation opportunities.

“For more than a century, Detroit has been known around the world as the leader in transportation innovation,” said Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan. “We are birthplace of the auto industry, and the home of the first mile of concrete road and the first three-way traffic signal.  Today, thanks to Gov. Whitmer and our partners at Michigan Central and Electreon, we can add the nation’s first wireless charging public roadway to that list of innovations."

EV Roadway pic4

 

EV Roadway pic3
Electreon’s wireless charging technology is based on inductive coupling between copper coils installed below the road surface and receivers installed on electric vehicles. Today, officials signed a copper coil to mark the roadway project's milestone opening in Detroit.

 

About Electreon Electreon is the leading developer and provider of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles (EVs), providing end-to-end charging infrastructure and services, to meet the needs and efficiency demands of shared, public, and commercial fleet operators. The company's proprietary inductive technology charges EVs quickly and safely both while driving and parked, eliminating range anxiety, lowering total costs of EV ownership, and reducing battery capacity needs, making it one of the most environmentally sustainable, scalable, and compelling charging solutions available in the market today. Electreon collaborates with cities and fleet operators on a "sale" business model, and on a Charging as a Service (CaaS) business model, that enables cost-effective electrification of public, commercial, and autonomous fleets for smooth and continuous operation. Electreon operates 18 projects across 8 countries, together with more than 100 partners. Electreon's wireless in-road charging technology was named one of the world's top 100 inventions for 2021 by Time Magazine. For more information, visit electreon.com.

About Michigan Central Michigan Central is a center for advancing technologies and programs that address barriers to social, economic and physical mobility. The campus is both a convening place and a call-to-action to advance a more sustainable, equitable future through a community-based approach to mobility solutions. Building on Detroit’s rich history as an engine of change, the transformative Michigan Central project aims to strengthen the city’s existing fabric of community and accelerate its economy, while inspiring collective action on the most pressing challenges at the intersection of mobility and society worldwide.