Detroit is building the nation’s first portable electric road system by connecting inductive charging to two short streets (ERS). Electric vehicles that employ a certain receiver will be able to be charged on the highways while being driven. This road will be fully functional by 2023.
The idea of a road that could charge electric vehicles while they’re traveling has been proposed before. For instance, in 2018 the business ElectRoad collaborated with the Israeli government on a trial of this nature. Even while the idea is sound, the true challenge is coming up with a mechanism to put the system into practice that makes sense.
The engineers at Magment assert that the cost of constructing a road using their materials would be comparable to that of constructing a conventional road. In addition to making sure that the roads are electrified, this will still require constructing better roads or replacing old ones, which will rely primarily on the considerable development of American infrastructure.
What is the process of this EV charging highway?
For the project, coils placed in roads transfer magnetic energy to detectors fixed under EVs. The automobile battery is then charged using that energy, whether the car is stationary or driving.
According to Michele Mueller, a senior project manager at the Michigan Department of Transportation,“We’re the auto capital. We continue to push technology advancements.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer first announced the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot in September 2021. To scale up and run the ERS, Michigan and its project partner, Electreon, inked a five-year agreement in September 2022.
Although this technology may charge more slowly than conventional plug-in charging infrastructure, it can offer more consistent charging while buses, taxis, or other vehicles are travelling or halting, resulting in less time spent at a station to recharge, according to Stefan Tongur, Electreon’s vice president of business development in Los Angeles.
What potential advantages might EV charging roads offer?
Through the use of smaller, less expensive batteries, the technique may eventually boost battery capacity and make it simpler to electrify many big commercial vehicles. Smaller batteries that charge while the truck is moving freight would cost about $15,000 per truck as opposed to $150,000 for each long-haul semi-truck.
Initial testing will not cost anything, but after implementation, the ERS may connect to drivers’ smartphones or cars to accept or decline charging. According to Fast Company, if used, the driver would be billed per kilowatt, much like a typical charging station.
Next steps for the ERS in Detroit
The Michigan Department of Transportation and Electreon will be evaluating the advantages of ERS, the strain on the grid, the expense of scaling up the technology, and how it fits within the state’s electrification by 2045 agenda. The partners also want to increase public access to the ERS and look into air quality and pollution reduction.
Oren Ezer, the CEO and co-founder of Electreon, said in a statement: “The potential for electrifying roads and cities is nearly unlimited and working together with MDOT we are altering the future of mobility.”
Similar initiatives will be tested in Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Utah in the upcoming years, among other states. Earlier this year, Electreon stated that their ERS was prepared for commercialization and that its wireless power tech has been proven successful in Brescia, Italy.
By 2030, Michigan also plans to electrify its fleet of government-owned cars.
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