As electric vehicles continue to proliferate worldwide, the next step is to build charging into the roads that they drive, and several pilot projects are underway to show how it can be done. Not only will this support the expansion of electric vehicles, but it also shows promise for reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere from heavy vehicles.
The first experiment of this kind in the US is about to happen. Ford Motor Co. is working with Israeli startup Electreon to build a mile-long road near Detroit’s Michigan Central Terminal that will charge electric vehicles as they travel on it. (Time called this the best invention of 2021.)
The Michigan project, expected to be launched next year in Detroit at the site of Ford’s central transportation innovation district, will provide infrastructure that can wirelessly charge EVs while they are in motion or stationary.
“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 Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Electreon is installing a static wireless charging network for 200 public buses in Tel Aviv, similar to one in Wenatchee, Washington state. It also is running pilot projects in Germany, Italy and Sweden that will show how electrical vehicles can be charged by in-road wireless systems as they are being driven.
Electreon’s inductive in-road charging technology was demonstrated last year at the “Arena of the Future” project near Milan, in Brescia, Italy, which aims to demonstrate contactless charging for a range of EVs as they drive on highways and toll roads. The idea is to provide a potential pathway to decarbonizing transportation systems.
Electreon agreed with the Italian toll road operator, Brebemi, to provide inductive wireless charging technology for a consortium of local and international partners which will work together to show its capabilities. The project involved building a 1,050 meter closed ring road fed by 1MW of power, called the “Arena of the Future”, about 50 kilometers from Milan.
In Sweden, which aims to have installed 2,000 km of electric highways by 2030, a demonstration project called Smartroad Gotland is already showing the possibilities. The 1.6 km long electric road situated between the airport and town center of Visby on the island of Gotland, an eco-municipality in the middle of the Baltic Sea, is financed by the the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). It began operations in early 2020 and is one of four Swedish demonstration projects.
Electreon, Ford Developing In-Road Charging System Near Mobility Tech Hub. Forbes, Feb. 1, 2022
Detroit Getting First Public EV-charging Road in the US to Power Electric Vehicles Wirelessly. Daily Good, Feb. 15, 2022
The world’s first wireless electric road charging an e-bus and an e-truck. Smart Road Gotland.
Nikola Tesla: 5G network could realise his dream of wireless electricity, a century after experiments failed. The Conversation, Apr. 9, 2021