First Wireless Charging Road for EVs in North America Opens in Detroit

The first stretch of road in North America enabling wireless charging of electric vehicles was inaugurated in Detroit, Michigan this week.

This is all thanks to Israeli company Electreon, which has already implemented its SAE-standardized technology back home as well as in Europe.

The electrified road is located in Detroit’s Corktown district and about 400 metres long. Inductive-charging copper coils have been installed below the road’s surface, with power-managing units on the side of the road. The charging segments transfer electricity wirelessly through a magnetic field, which is then transferred as energy to the vehicle’s battery.

Photo: Electreon

In order to be compatible, a vehicle must first be equipped with a receiver mounted to the underbody. Electreon held a demonstration using a Ford E-Transit van and, as Car and Driver reports, the charging rate reached 19 kW at one point.

The company’s plan is to initially focus on last-mile delivery vehicles and public buses. It must be said that the technology works best when the vehicles are stopped, like at an intersection or bus stop.

Photo: Electreon

Of course, there are major infrastructure costs involved (the investment for the Detroit project has not been specified), but as Electreon’s VP of business development Stefan Tongur pointed out, wireless charging roads mean fewer public chargers are necessary and EVs can rely on smaller, lighter batteries to get extended range.

Mainstream application of the technology will inevitably require automakers (and possibly their dealers) to collaborate with Electreon to install the receivers on their vehicles in order to make them compatible with wireless charging roads.

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