On Wednesday, November 29, a Detroit street became the first US public roadway to wirelessly charge an electric vehicle (EV). The initiative was a collaboration between the City of Detroit, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and Israeli company Electreon.

A blue electric Ford E-Transit commercial van successfully charged while traveling on a quarter-mile portion of 14th Street near Michigan Central Station. The street was equipped with rubber-coated copper coils buried beneath the road’s surface.

It’s important to note that not all EVs can currently utilize this charging infrastructure on 14th Street. The van used in the demonstration was specially equipped with a receiver to accept the wireless charge.

The 14th Street wireless charging project fulfills Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s 2021 pledge that Michigan would host the first wireless charging public road in the United States.

MDOT and Electreon are collaborating to install wireless charging roadways in other parts of the state. One of their next projects is to convert a stretch of Michigan Avenue into a wireless charging roadway. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2025.

Electreon already has wireless charging projects underway in Israel, Norway, and other countries.

According to Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s Vice President of Business Development, the company’s wireless charging technology is safe. Each coil is individually connected and only charges when a vehicle with a sensor is directly over it.

Electreon can make money from wireless charging by billing drivers for using the roads. The Detroit Free Press reports that the company is currently using this approach in Israel.

Electreon’s technology is also remarkable because it enables EVs to charge while they’re in motion. Most other wireless charging technology only works when an EV is stopped in traffic.

The wireless charging roadway is not considered a replacement for EV charging stations. Instead, the roadway serves as a range extender.

The approach enables automakers to reduce the size of batteries. And reducing the size of batteries drives down the overall cost of EVs. As of 2022, batteries accounted for 32 percent of the average US EV’s overall cost.

In addition, market research indicates that wireless charging roadways dramatically improve the public’s perception of EVs. Wireless charging company WiTricity found that wireless charging makes the average consumer 68 percent more likely to buy an EV.

Image Source: ClickOnDetroit