< System Tested in US Can Charge Electric Vehicles as they Drive
By Bryan Lynn
06 December 2023

Officials in the American city of Detroit, Michigan, have equipped a piece of road with technology designed to charge electric vehicles (EVs) on the path.

The roadway is meant to serve as a demonstration project for the technology, which could be expanded to larger road systems. Leaders of the project say it is believed to be the country's first public wireless charging roadway built for EVs.

The system uses a series of copper wires placed underneath the road. These wires have the ability to send electricity through a magnetic field to charge an EV's battery. Charging can happen while the car is driving or sitting above the equipment.

An electric van drives past a visible in-road wireless charging coil to be installed in a street in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
An electric van drives past a visible in-road wireless charging coil to be installed in a street in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The technology was created by an Israeli company called Electreon, a developer of wireless charging solutions for EVs. The company currently has contracts to build similar roadways in Israel, Sweden, Italy and Germany.

Stefan Tongur is Electreon's vice president of business development. He told The Associated Press EVs require special equipment to receive the wireless signal. "The technology is smart," Tongur said, and "knows who you are..."

The system was recently demonstrated to the public at a technology development center in Detroit. The center seeks solutions to transportation issues facing cities. The effort, which includes several development projects, is where Ford Motor Company is building a factory to develop self-driving vehicles.

The electrified road stretches about one half-kilometer. It will be used to test and improve the technology in preparation for wider releases, said Michigan's Department of Transportation (DOT).

Tongur said the project aims to "demonstrate how wireless charging unlocks widespread EV adoption, addressing limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs."

He looks forward to a future in which, in his words, "EVs are the norm, not the exception."

Electreon says the electric road system is safe for people and animals walking over it and does not harm drivers.

Michigan's DOT signed a five-year agreement with Electreon to develop the roadway charging system. Officials have said they plan to build another electrified stretch of road in another part of the city.

American President Joe Biden is seeking to build a nationwide network of EV charging stations in the United States. His administration plans to establish at least a half-million sites along highways in the United States by 2030.

Michigan transportation officials say the wireless-charging roadway project has helped position the state and city of Detroit as national leaders in EV technology. "In Michigan, we want to stay ahead of the curve," Michigan DOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich told the AP. He added, "We want to lead the curve."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

adopt – v. to accept or start using something

grid – n. a system of connected wires used to supply electrical power to large areas

norm – n. the usual way that something happens

ahead of the curve – phr. to have a deeper or developing understanding of something

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