Indiana and Michigan have announced separate plans to pilot test wireless EV charging roads in the near future.
Speaking at the Motor Bella outdoor auto show in Michigan this week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out plans for a new Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot program. The program will convert a one-mile stretch of highway in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties into a road capable of charging an EV’s battery as it drives. According to The Detroit Free Press, it’s currently unclear how the technology will work, how much the pilot program will cost and when Michigan residents can expect it to become operational.
Earlier this summer, Indiana announced it had partnered with Purdue University to construct a similar wireless EV charging road on a yet to be determined segment of interstate highway within the state. A news release published by the Indiana Department of Transportation said the roadway would use an innovative magnetized concrete material built by a German company called Magment GmbH. The project will first entail pavement testing and analysis at Purdue before INDOT constructs a quarter-mile-long testbed road at an undetermined location. If the first two phases are successful, INDOT will go ahead with plans to convert a section of the Interstate into a wireless EV charging road.
Whitmer’s plan announced this week, by comparison, will jump right into the public phase and would skip the trial phases INDOT has outlined. In a statement sent to the Free Press, Whitmer said the project is an important part of the state’s goal of eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.
“Michigan was home to the first mile of paved road, and now we’re paving the way for the roads of tomorrow with innovative infrastructure (that) will support the economy and the environment, helping us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” she said.
The UK and Highways England conducted a similar wireless EV charging road pilot in 2015 on a private test track, although nothing ever came of the initiative. The UK Department for Transport also sidelined £20 million for businesses to explore using overhead wires on motorways for long-range electric trucks earlier this year. The overhead wire technology, developed by Siemens and dubbed ‘eHighway technology’, is seen as being less cost-prohibitive than wireless charging roads. The Siemens technology is already being used on a section of the Bundesstraße highway in Germany, as well.