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Detroit officially unveils new technology beneath streets that could change how we travel: ‘We want to stay ahead of the curve’

“[Paving] the path for a sustainable, electrical mobility future”

“If we do this correctly, we can decrease the costs of transportation for everyone.”

Photo Credit: iStock

Detroit has reportedly unveiled new technology beneath its streets after a year of waiting, with electric vehicles able to get a boost that could ultimately make range anxiety a thing of the past.  

The Associated Press reported on Nov. 29 that the city has installed copper inductive coils that can charge EVs as they drive, idle, or park. 

For now, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has restricted the coils to a quarter-mile section on 14th Street, but the technology from Electreon is expected to be made more widely available in a couple of years once the testing phase is over.  

“In Michigan, we want to stay ahead of the curve. We want to lead the curve,” MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich told the AP. 

“Alongside Michigan’s automotive expertise, we’ll demonstrate how wireless charging unlocks widespread EV adoption, addressing limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs,” Electreon vice president of business development Stefan Tongur said, adding that the “smart” tech wouldn’t negatively impact pedestrians and animals.

Battery manufacturing for EVs is an energy-intensive process, but the vehicles produce less harmful carbon pollution than gas-powered cars overall, with people who make the switch preventing nearly 10,000 pounds of carbon gas from entering our atmosphere annually.   

Despite the environmental and long-term monetary benefits of EVs, a survey by AAA found that “concern about running out of charge when driving” is a consideration for 58% of consumers polled, with 60% worried there aren’t enough places to charge. 

“The deeper issue with range anxiety is that it’s going to take more than just improving how far an electric vehicle can go to convince people to make the switch,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, said in the release of the survey’s results.

As the AP reported, MDOT and Electreon have agreed to develop Michigan’s electric road system over a five-year period, with revenue models for the first-ever EV-charging road in the U.S. still to be determined. 

“If we do this correctly, we can decrease the costs of transportation for everyone,” Tallis Blalack, the managing director of the ASPIRE engineering research center, told Stateline of the project in November 2022. 

“Marking this initial step of this project with the next one being Michigan Avenue, we can begin today to pave the path for a sustainable, electrical mobility future of tomorrow,” Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison announced at the unveiling of the charging road last month, per Fox 2 Detroit

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