Electric and hybrid vehicles would have no need to stop and charge during long distance journeys if a new initiative by the Highways England is successful.
It has announced that trials to equip roads to charge electric and hybrid vehicles wirelessly as they travel along them are to take place later this year.
The off-road trials will test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major A roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the battery.
The trials follow the completion of the feasibility study commissioned by Highways England into ‘dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies.
Transport minister Andrew Jones 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. 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 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 our England’s motorways and major A roads.
“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 will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions. Full details of the trials will be publicised when a contractor has been appointed.
The trials are expected to last for approximately 18 months and, subject to the results, could be followed by on-road trials.
As well as investigating the potential to install technology to wirelessly power ultra-low efficient vehicles, Highways England is also committed in the longer-term to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway network as part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy.