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Michigan DOT, City of Detroit, and Electreon Unveil the Nation’s First Public EV-Charging Roadway at Michigan Central

MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich and Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison signed an Electreon coil, marking the start of the nation’s first electrified public road.
MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich and Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison signed an Electreon coil, marking the start of the nation’s first electrified public road.
DETROIT, MI — Detroit 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 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 is now equipped with inductive-charging coils between Marantette and Dalzelle streets that will charge electric vehicles (EVs) equipped with Electreon receivers as they drive on the road. The road will be used to test 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.

The move toward electrification is widely touted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who announced the pilot initiative in September 2021 to develop the nation's first wireless charging infrastructure on a public road in Michigan. MDOT and Electreon have entered a five-year commitment to develop the electric road system (ERS), piloting the technology on Michigan roads. 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 vehicle with a receiver nears the in-road charging segments, the road transfers electricity wirelessly through a magnetic field. This electricity is then transferred as energy to the vehicle's battery. These charging segments can transfer wireless electricity to the receiver either when the vehicle is parked (static charging) or is driving (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. 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 US-12 (Michigan Avenue), 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.

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 a Ford E-Transit electric commercial van provided by Ford Motor Co. and equipped with the Electreon receiver, staff will test the efficiency and operations of the vehicle and study potential long-term public transportation opportunities.

“Developing electrified roadways may be the catalyst to accelerate interest and acceptance of EVs for all consumers,” Wieferich said. “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.”

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