Detroit Regional Chamber > Automotive & Mobility > Michigan Central in Detroit Completes Nation’s First Wireless-Charging Public Roadway

Michigan Central in Detroit Completes Nation’s First Wireless-Charging Public Roadway

November 30, 2023

DBusiness Magazine
Nov. 29, 2023
R.J. King

Michigan Central, a mobility innovation campus set in the former train station at Michigan Avenue and 14th Street in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, along with Mayor Mike Duggan and the Michigan Department of Transportation, have finished installing the nation’s first wireless-charging public roadway.

Using technology from Electreon, 14th Street east of Michigan Central 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 and perfect 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, officials state.

“We’re excited to spearhead the development and deployment of America’s first wireless charging road,” says Stefan Tongur, vice president of business development at Electreon. “This milestone stands as a testament to our collaborative efforts with the State of Michigan and MDOT, the City of Detroit, Michigan Central, Ford, Jacobs, Next Energy, DTE, and others. Alongside Michigan’s automotive expertise, we’ll demonstrate how wireless charging unlocks widespread EV adoption, addressing limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs.

This project paves the way for a zero-emission mobility future, where EVs are the norm, not the exception.”

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, state Electreon officials. 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 (Newlab is based in the former book depository building east of the train station), agreed to install a combined mile of inductive-charging roadway in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood.

With 14th Street owned and maintained by the City of Detroit, it 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.

“We are excited to partner with MDOT, the City of Detroit and Electreon to bring the future of roads to Michigan,” says Joshua Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central. “This is what Michigan Central is all about, not only convening key partners across the public and private sectors to fuel innovation and create jobs and investment in Detroit, but also providing the environment to safely test and hone technology like Electreon in real time and in the real world.”

As the auto capital of the world, Michigan stands ready to lead the nationwide charge toward electrification of our vehicles and roadways. Partnering with industry to develop and test these new technologies will help develop the blueprint necessary to introduce wireless charging roads nationwide.

“For more than a century, Detroit has been known around the world as the leader in transportation innovation,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are the birthplace of the auto industry, and the home of the first mile of concrete road and the first three-way traffic signal. Today, thanks to Gov. Whitmer and our partners at Michigan Central and Electreon, we can add the nation’s first wireless charging public roadway to that list of innovations.”

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 an E-Transit all-electric van provided by Ford Motor Co. and equipped with an Electreon receiver to charge the inductive coils, staff will test the efficiency and operations of the shuttle, as well as potential long-term public transportation opportunities.

Electreon is a developer and provider of wireless charging solutions for EVs, providing end-to-end charging infrastructure and services to meet the needs and efficiency demands of shared, public, and commercial fleet operators.