Electrified roads could be the tipping point for EV adoption

Detroit’s new roadway is a big step toward a fully electric future.

Last week, Detroit became the first American city to install an electrified roadway.

A white car with a yellow lightning bolt hovering above it on a paved road that turns into an arrow pointing up. The background is purple and covered in lightning strikes.

While that might sound like something you would definitely not want to drive on, it’s actually a big step toward widespread EV adoption:

  • The wireless-charging roadway can charge EVs while driving, parking, or idling.
  • When an EV with a receiver nears the roadway, copper inductive charging coils beneath the road transfer electricity to the car through a magnetic field.
  • Electrified roads are safe for drivers, pedestrians, and animals.

The new tech was created by Electreon, an Israeli company developing wireless-charging solutions for EVs.

And Michigan’s $5.9m, quarter-mile experiment is the first of many: Electreon already has contracts for projects in Israel, Sweden, Germany, and Italy.

To note: Most EVs currently can’t charge wirelessly, and would need receivers to do so — something the company is working with car manufacturers on introducing.

Why’s this a big deal?

Because there are still many obstacles standing in the way of broad EV adoption:

  • The nation’s power grid, designed for a fossil-fuel world, will strain under an 18% increase in electricity demand by 2030.
  • A dearth of chargers around the country means drivers can get stranded with nowhere to recharge — leading to EV range anxiety.

So, while the average range for EVs in the US has quadrupled since 2011 to 300 miles, electrified roads would allow for unlimited range.

That isn’t just good news for your road trip: Wireless charging would allow public transit buses, long-haul trucks, delivery vehicles, and taxis to operate constantly without charging.


… Electreon is only one of several companies working on solving wireless charging.

And there’s more EV support from Uncle Sam: The Biden Administration announced plans to install 500k EV charging stations across the country and signed a $1T infrastructure law that sets aside $5B for states to build EV chargers.

Lastly: If you’re wondering how we made it this far without making an “Electric Avenue” joke, it’s because we’re saving it for 2024, when Michigan will start taking bids to bring all of Michigan Avenue wireless.

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Topics: Transportation

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