Michigan is set to develop the first wireless-charging pilot program in the US. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a plan to develop and construct an electrified roadway that allows electric vehicles, including buses and shuttles, to charge while driving.
“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 Whitmer.
The Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. MDOT is seeking proposals to design, fund, evaluate, iterate, test and implement the pilot along a stretch of state-operated roadway in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties.
“This electrified roadway has the potential to accelerate autonomous vehicles at scale and turn our streets into safe, sustainable, accessible and shared transportation platforms,” says Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.
Whitmer also announced an expansion of the Lake Michigan EV Circuit, an electric vehicle route around Lake Michigan, a popular summer tourist destination. The state government will award up to US$1.25 million in grants for EV charging infrastructure in the form of DC fast charging or level 2 chargers along the roadway.
University of Auckland receives grant for wireless charging research
The New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Business and Innovation Endeavour Fund recently awarded the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering NZ$13.5 million to research vehicle-side and in-road charging technology for EVs.
The five-year program will seek to develop a system that is universally compatible with different types of vehicles and roads, and tolerant of extreme climates and temperatures.
Leading the research is Professor Grant Covic from the university’s Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering. “It means we can focus on removing the huge EV barriers for commercial fleet owners, which are the time it takes for plug-in charging and the size and weight of the battery packs needed to power heavy loads and long-distance travel,” he says.
“Wireless charging on the move will mean less downtime for vehicles and smaller battery packs,” says Covic, adding that the technology will be essential for fleet owners seeking to meet New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission goal to switch to electricity by 2035.