This State Will Be the First in the US to Have a Wireless EV Charger Built Into a Road
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While electric vehicles (EVs) have become increasingly popular, one problem still lurks: charging. Battery range and charging speeds have improved over the years, but taking a road trip in an EV would still be difficult.
In light of this, the state governments of Michigan and Indiana are in a race to build the first road that provides wireless EV charging. Here is what you need to know about the wireless charging system.
Indiana has become the first state to begin the implementation of EV charging roads.
Michigan vs. Indiana
Indiana was the first state to start exploring the real possibility of roads that charge EVs while driving. This is a collaborative effort between Purdue University, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and a German engineering company named Magment.
The group has completed the engineering aspects of the project, and is now searching for a quarter-mile stretch of road to start testing, according to The Drive.
Not to be outdone, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced that she wants the first wireless charging road to be built in her state. During her appearance at the North American International Auto Show, the governor announced that plans would be finalized very soon.
Whitmer plans to have a mile-long road that provides wireless charging somewhere in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb County.
Wireless EV charging in Europe
These Midwestern states aren’t the first to develop wireless charging infrastructure. Norway, perhaps the most ambitious EV country in the world, already has plans for wireless EV charging.
However, Norway isn’t planning on building a wireless charging road anytime soon. Instead, they will be implementing wireless charging stations for taxi cabs.
When a taxi cab parks at a designated station to wait for a customer, the car will automatically start charging. A similar concept will be used in parking lots. Drivers can simply park at one of these stations and charge their cars without needing any cables.
Will wireless EV charging roads work?
There are still a lot of unknowns about the feasibility of these wireless charging roads. For starters, there is a lot of concern about the basic functionality.
Anyone who has used wireless charging for cell phones knows that the process is finicky. Near-perfect alignment is needed for this type of charging, and the speed of wireless charging is slow compared to wired charging.
Trying to utilize this technology for moving cars across miles of roadway will no doubt be a challenge; adding to that will be the total cost of implementation.
While wireless cell phone chargers are fairly cheap, the cost of implementing this across multi-lane roads will be pricey. Neither Michigan nor Indiana has reached the point in their research to determine how much this will cost.
Scalability is also a challenge. Presumably, wireless charging roads will be most beneficial on long stretches of interstate between cities where charging stations are scarce. As of now, Indiana and Michigan will be testing these new roads in suburban and urban areas.
These two states are taking bold action in developing the infrastructure of tomorrow, but it’s too early to tell if wireless charging roads are viable.
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