Charging on the Go: Michigan Building Innovative Electrified Road to Power Electric Vehicles While Driving

By Isaac Constans

February 1, 2022

Michigan is building the first ever wireless charging roadway in the US, so electric vehicles can drive while they charge. Best of all, the state’s not footing the whole bill.

Need to Know

  • The first wireless charging road for electric vehicles is being built in Michigan.
  • The project furthers the state’s status as the hub for electric vehicle technology and manufacturing.
  • Last week, General Motors announced a company record investment in Michigan electric vehicle and battery plants.

DETROIT—A first-of-its-kind roadway that will wirelessly charge electric vehicles will be built in Michigan. Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Electreon, a global electric charging company, will be building the one-mile strip of roadway, which can charge the batteries of in-motion or stationary electric vehicles.

The technology uses embedded copper coils beneath the asphalt to send electrical currents above to receptors on electric batteries, charging the cars. The project has been successful elsewhere, but it’s some of the most advanced electric vehicle charging technology to come stateside. It will be based in Detroit’s Michigan Central district.

“Michigan’s automotive industry roots built a foundation for mobility innovation and we’re thrilled to join this community of experts,” “said Stefan Tongur, vice president of business development, for Electreon in the U.S. 

The state will fund a relatively just a portion of the project, with Electreon covering all remaining costs.

An Accelerating Trend

Gov. Whitmer’s plans to make Michigan the country’s electric vehicle capital are revving up.

In September, she announced the plans for this idea. That was a month after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that 50% of new vehicle sales should be electric by 2030, a mission that the Big Three automakers are on board with. At the time of the announcement, Energy Secretary Granholm, and former governor, Jennifer Granholm was in Michigan touring innovative electric vehicle and battery plants.

Then last month, General Motors announced the largest investment in its history, expanding its workforce to roll out a wide-ranging supply of electric vehicles and batteries. GM will bankroll a new electric battery factory and revamp several other existing plants in the state.

Whitmer has proposed that Michigan drivers should get $2,500 back for purchasing electric vehicles, adding into federal incentives of up to $7,500 in rebates. She floated that idea at her 2022 State of the State address last week, which she delivered from a Detroit-area plant that has adopted electric vehicle technology.

“As we aim to lead the future of mobility and electrification by boosting electric vehicle production and lowering consumer costs, a wireless in-road charging system is the next piece to the puzzle for sustainability,” said Whitmer in a press release this morning.

The Electric Vehicle Hub

These projects further continue Michigan’s legacy as the hub of US automotive manufacturing. Conservatives lambasted Whitmer when Ford announced an expansion into Tennessee and Kentucky, but Michigan has in her tenure landed major deals.

Ford is currently redeveloping Michigan Central, the former railway station that for years was the poster child of Detroit blight, to be a new mobility and innovation district. That district is where the new road, expected to be operational in 2023, is being built.

“Michigan is aggressively rolling out various charging solutions and we need to continue to stay ahead of the technology curve,” state transportation director Paul C. Ajegba said. “A wireless in-road charging system will be revolutionary for electric vehicles, potentially extending their charge without having to stop.”

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