UK Government to trial charge-as-you-drive 'electric motorways'

August 13, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
Highways England, which is a UK government company charged with driving the devleopment of the UK's motorways and major A roads, is planning to test ‘dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies that could allow electric car owners to charge as they drive.

Off road trials of the technology needed to power electric and hybrid vehicles on England’s major roads are scheduled to take place later this year.

The trials will be the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the UK’s motorways and major A roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery.

The trials follow the completion of the feasibility study commissioned by Highways England into ‘dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies.

"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. As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses,"  said the UK's Transport Minister Andrew Jones.

"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," commented Highways England's Chief Highways Engineer, Mike Wilson. "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, which are expected to last for approximately 18 months, will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.