Toronto, Ontario — In this weekly electric and autonomous vehicle report, the Michigan Department of Transportation announces the installation of EV charging roads; and Tesla’s Cybertruck finally hits the consumer market.
Follow the copper-brick road
In Detroit, Michigan, crews have begun installing what’s billed as the nation’s first wireless-charging public roadway for electric vehicles.
In a street just west of downtown Detroit, copper inductive charging coils allow vehicles equipped with receivers to charge up their batteries while driving, idling or parking above the coils.
The quarter-mile segment of 14th Street will be used to test and perfect the technology ahead of making it available to the public within a few years, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Demonstrations of the new technology were held Wednesday at the Michigan Central Innovation district—a hub for advancing technology and programs that address barriers to mobility.
The technology belongs to Electreon and the pilot initiative was originally announced in 2021 by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“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,” said Stefan Tongur, Electreon vice president of business development. “This project paves the way for a zero-emission mobility future, where EVs are the norm, not the exception.”
The coils used in the road system only activate when a vehicle with a receiver passes over them, making them safe for animals and pedestrians. When a vehicle with receivers nears the charging segments, the coils beneath the road transfer electricity through a magnetic field, charging the vehicle’s battery.
The state Department of Transportation and Electreon have made a five-year commitment to develop the electric road system. The Department of Transportation is expected to seek bids to rebuild part of Michigan Avenue, where inductive charging will also be installed.
Tesla has officially launched the Cybertruck, handing off the first production units to customers at a delivery event on Thursday at the company’s Giga Texas manufacturing plant.
Two versions of the vehicle will be available: a dual-motor configuration, priced at $79,990 with a 340-mile range and a 0 to 60 mph start-up of 4.1 seconds; and a tri-motor performance spec priced at $99,990 with a 320-mile range and a 0 to 60 mph start-up of 2.6 seconds.
Elon Musk has said that Tesla aims to produce 250,000 Cybertrucks per year once production is fully ramped up, with this milestone anticipated to be reached in 2025.
The Cybertruck includes a camera array surrounding the truck that enables an autopilot driver-assistance system. A basic lane-keeping version of the auto-pilot feature is included in the truck’s base price, while the full self-driving option, currently in a public beta, is available as a $12,000 software package able to be unlocked before or after delivery.