Michigan Wants To Have America's First Electrified Roads

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Charging EVs wirelessly while driving? It's totally possible.

Automakers and the federal government are not the only ones embracing an all-electric future. Several state governments, specifically California and New York, have already passed legislation aiming to ban sales of new combustion-engined passenger vehicles beginning in 2035. Laying the infrastructure groundwork for EVs requires more than banning a century-old technology and adding charging stations. Going big requires thinking big.

Speaking at this year's Motor Bella show in Detroit, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced plans to build America's first wireless charging public road. Officially called the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot, the objective is to have a one-mile stretch of road in either Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb counties capable of charging EVs while in motion.

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Critical details like how the advanced technology works, a construction start date, how much the project will cost, and when the said road will be open, remain unknown. However, the state's Department of Transportation is planning to issue proposal requests from private companies starting later this month. While Michigan could be the first state to acquire and test this tech, a similar pilot project is already underway in Sweden.

The Wolverine State needs to move fast because neighboring Indiana also has plans to begin developing and testing its own wireless road. In other words, the race is on. The Hoosier State's plan is to utilize magnetizable concrete to generate an electrical charge for wireless charging. A research facility has already been set up to begin testing.

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The key difference between Indiana's and Michigan's plans is that the latter intends for it to be on a public road. Indiana state officials believe their project is at least a year away from public roadway testing. Michigan is fast-tracking its project to beat Indiana to the punch.

"We're rebuilding infrastructure in Michigan. Orange barrels are everywhere. It's important that we're rebuilding, but we're doing it in a resilient way that supports advanced technology," Whitmer said. Presently, no electric vehicle on sale is capable of wireless inductive charging but automakers are also testing the tech and Michigan just so happens to be home to General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. Chances are there's already a Chevy Bolt or Ford Mustang Mach-E with prototype tech installed.

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