Last edited 12 Jan 2021

Wireless electric highways

In September 2014, Highways England (then known as the Highways Agency) began a feasibility study to investigate dynamic battery charging systems for electric vehicles (EV). Such a system would allow drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances on the strategic road network without needing to stop and charge. Ref Highways England.

The Highways Agency suggested that there is a con­tin­ued move towards the introduc­tion of wire­less charg­ing as an addi­tion to the standard plug in charg­ing infrastruc­ture for electric vehicles. The feasibil­ity study was intended to inves­ti­gate poten­tial solu­tions that might:

  • Mit­i­gate against EV’s run­ning out of power.
  • Help reduce fuel costs.
  • Have min­i­mum impact on the road sur­face in terms of instal­la­tion and maintenance.
  • Help achieve bet­ter air qual­ity.
  • Reduce noise lev­els.
  • Reduce pol­lu­tion from tailpipe emis­sions.

It was also expected to asses finan­cial charg­ing mech­a­nisms for energy received by EV owners and to Iden­tify addi­tional ser­vices that could be intro­duced at the same time.

In August 2015, the government announced that following the completion of the feasibility study, off road trials of dynamic wireless power transfer technologies to support electric and hybrid vehicles would take place later in the year. Ref

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The government is already committing £500 million over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector.”

Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson said, “The off road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country.”

The trials are expected to last 18 months and will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and replicating motorway conditions. They may be followed by on road trials.

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