Why it matters: While the cost doesn’t make it reasonable to build massive highways that can wirelessly charge EVs, the system could still be helpful for bus routes, traffic lights, or roads where people spend a lot of time stuck in traffic.
Israeli company Electreon has announced that it’s planning to build the first US road with wireless-charging capabilities for electric vehicles. The pilot project is set to be finished next year in Detroit, Michigan, and it’ll initially only be one mile long.
The road will work by having an underground network of charging coils that connect to the energy grid, with EVs needing to have a receiver to charge while driving over them. The system doesn’t emit electricity without an active receiver, so people and animals crossing the street won’t get electrocuted. It’s also modular, as each coil is connected individually to the grid, so a pothole won’t render the entire charging system useless.
The charge per mile depends on the vehicle and how fast it’s going. While the road won’t fully replenish a battery, especially considering its length, it will top it up slightly, allowing EVs to travel further before requiring a charging station. The receivers can also rack up a tab so the vehicle owner can pay for the electricity later.
An Electreon representative claims that bus routes would be a great place to implement this charging system as they are predictable and repetitive. Areas with a lot of traffic congestion might also work well, as your vehicle would have time to charge while waiting in traffic.
The idea sounds like a supersized version of Logitech’s Powerplay system, which allows a special mouse pad to charge a wireless mouse while it’s in use.