Highways England tests wireless charging for UK's motorways
Britain's roads could soon be fitted with wireless charging technology for electric cars following a new pilot scheme announced Tuesday.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones confirmed that a series of world-first trials would be carried out to test how wireless charging technology could be deployed on the country’s motorways and A-roads.
The wireless transfer technology could see ultra-low emission vehicles and electric cars powering their batteries on the move without any need to stop for lengthy power ups.
The upcoming trials will see vehicles fitted with wireless technology and test roads fitted with charging technology underneath the surface.
The Transport Minister said: “The potential to recharge low-emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The Government is already committing £500m over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector.”
Jones said: “As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses.”
Highways England has already completed a feasibility study into the potential technology. Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said: “Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways and major A roads.”
Wilson said the wireless power technology could help develop a more sustainable road network and open up opportunities for business.
Highways England is also committing to installing plug-in charge points for electric vehicles every 20 miles on the motorway network as part of the Road Investment Strategy.
The news comes as Innovate UK announced a pioneering UK all-electric car-sharing start up had been sold to Europcar Group.
The company’s 63 Crowdcube investors enjoyed a multiple return on the total £100,000 investment in E-Car Club. The car-sharing fleet has 19 locations across the UK and a fleet of electric cars including the Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE.
E-Car Club co-founder Chris Morris said: “This is an incredibly fast moving sector and working with an organisation of Europcar’s calibre will enable E-Car Club to continue its path to future growth.”
London’s City Car Club was also recently acquired by car rental multinational Enterprise, adding to the growing sharing economy transport market.
Previous plans to develop smart roads have included plans for ‘solar’ roads in the US. Milton Keynes Council has also tested an all-electrical bus route with buses charged by electromagnetic coils buried in the road. The operators claim only 10% of the road needs power strips to charge the bus, which also only needs a small battery due to its on-the-go charging.