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Michigan is building the nation’s first road that can wirelessly charge electric vehicles

Your EV might be the next thing to get wireless charging.

tesla model s on road
Image: Tesla

One of the anxieties around the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) is range anxiety, where the battery life of any EV limits how far you can drive before recharging. What if you didn’t have to stop to charge? That’s the question that Michigan is aiming to solve, with a pilot program to test wireless charging of EVs, with wireless charging embedded in the road surface.

Yes, wireless charging, like in your smartphones, but not necessarily the same inductive coils that are inside your desktop charger.

One potential system uses magnetizable concrete to create the charging as the EV drives over it, which is what another project in Indiana is aiming to use. It’s not clear at this time what Michigan’s pilot test would use, or how quickly it will start testing.

Michigan does aim to get their public road pilot operational before Indiana manages theirs, as that state’s project is still one to two years away from installing their special concrete on a public roadway. Currently, it’s testing in a research facility in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The tech is exciting for an all-EV future. Think past cars for the moment, what about electric buses, shuttles, or other public transportation, all with non-polluting power? Power that never needs to park to recharge. Power that might not even need the large batteries that current EVs need for extended range.

Let’s take that one step further with autonomous vehicles driving over those self-charging streets. What will our streets look like then?

Oh, and as to why Michigan wants to have the first mile of public road that can charge EVs while driving? That’s because it was also home to the first mile of concrete pavement, all the way back in 1909.

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