Episode 130 - Electrified Roads Make Their Debut in Detroit

Stuck in traffic or cruising in the fast lane? Someday soon your EV could be charging wirelessly—whether your vehicle is in motion or sitting idle.

As a first-of-its-kind program in the U.S., three companies—Electreon, NextEnergy and Jacobs—are working in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation to pilot a wireless EV charging road system for public transit vehicles in Detroit.

The project involves embedding Electreon’s unique copper coil technology just below the surface of the road—a process that can be deployed overnight. A kit attached to the vehicle receives the wireless energy (whether it’s in motion or idle) and transfers it to the vehicle battery. This ground-breaking pilot program aims to be operational by 2023 and will pave the way for electrified roads across the U.S.

We sat down with Stefan Tongur, Vice President of Business Development at Electreon, Jim Saber, President & CEO at NextEnergy, and Brian Burkhard, Vice President and Global Technology Lead for Advanced Mobility Systems at Jacobs, to discuss the partnership between their companies, the importance of piloting in a four-season environment, and how their technology will accelerate EV adoption for both the public and private sector.


Meet Our Guests

Vice President of Business Development, Electreon

Stefan Tongur is the Vice President of Business Development at Electreon, the leading provider of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles (EVs). Tongur manages and drives Electreon’s work in North America, playing a key role in the company’s introduction to the U.S market. As the founder of the Electric Road System (ERS) definition, Tongur has nearly a decade of experience studying the challenges and opportunities of commercializing ERS in both Europe and North America. His doctoral thesis, entitled “Preparing for takeoff – Analyzing the development of electric road system from a business model perspective” is one of the world’s first on ERS. Tongur holds a PhD in Industrial Economics and Management as well as a Masters in Science in Mechanical Engineering, both from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

President & CEO, NextEnergy

Jim Saber is President & CEO at NextEnergy. Saber previously lead the business and technology development and demonstration activities to support commercialization and business growth of NextEnergy’s advanced energy clients and stakeholders. Saber’s experience includes the development of over $150 million in technology development and demonstration programs within e-mobility, smart grid, buildings and infrastructure, microgrids, energy storage, renewable energy, and alternative fuels.

He has lead NextEnergy’s work in establishing new technology development and demonstration platforms within next generation energy efficiency and transportation applications. Prior to joining NextEnergy, Saber spent more than a decade in the energy storage industry where he held product and business development positions with Fortune 500 and startup companies. He serves on the boards of TechTown, Detroit 2030 District, Michigan Institute for Energy Innovation, and the external advisory board of the University of Michigan Energy Institute. Jim holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Lawrence Technological University.

Vice President and Global Technology Lead for Advanced Mobility Systems, Jacobs

With 34 years of experience as an electrical and systems engineer, Brian serves as Jacobs’ Global Technology Leader for Advanced Mobility Systems. He specializes in electrical systems, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), connected, automated and electric vehicles, battery electric busses, smart cities, Internet of Things, transit systems, networking, and communications. He is currently leading up Jacobs EV mobility initiative.

Bonus Features

Our Host


Innovation Strategist & Co-Founder, Brulte & Company

Grayson Brulte is an autonomous mobility advisor and consultant who provides strategic counsel and political insights to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an SAE strategic partner since 2017, Grayson brings his in-depth industry knowledge to host SAE Tomorrow Today. His unique perspective factors in economics, politics and technology into one-of-kind weekly conversations with innovators changing mobility and its impact on society.

Grayson is a thought-leader who regularly provides insights to publications including Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Forbes. His written opinions and insights have been featured by organizations including the Consumer Technology Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

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