State looks to install one mile of wireless charging infrastructure for EVs in metro Detroit

What’s happening: Michigan is poised to become the first state in the nation to install wireless charging infrastructure on its public roads, state officials say, as Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot initiative at Motor Bella in Pontiac. The announcement came on Tuesday, Sept. 21, the opening day for the inaugural interactive and auto-centric event from the North American International Auto Show.

What it is: Wireless charging infrastructure being installed along public roads would allow electric vehicles to charge while they go and without stopping at a charging station. Electric vehicles could potentially operate continuously, and without having to stop to charge — or for gas, for that matter.

Why it’s important: Besides the notoriety of becoming the first state in the nation to adopt the technology, the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot could help ease drivers and fleet operators’ concerns about “range anxiety,” which could prevent someone from purchasing an electric vehicle when they’re worried if the vehicle can make it safely from one charging station to the next. The technology could accelerate the proliferation of electric vehicles on our roadways. And electric vehicles are widely considered much more eco-friendly than gas-powered automobiles.

When and where: On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the state will release a Request For Proposal “to design, fund, evaluate, iterate, test and implement the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot along a one-mile stretch of state-operated roadway in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties.” The RFP will be available online here and here.

What they’re saying: “Michigan was home to the first mile of paved road, and now we’re paving the way for the roads of tomorrow with innovative infrastructure that will support the economy and the environment, helping us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” says Gov. Whitmer. “This project reinforces my commitment to accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure in Michigan and will create new opportunities for businesses and high-tech jobs amidst the transition to electric vehicles.” 

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.