England to begin trialling electric highways to charge EVs on the move

12 Aug 2015

The UK looks like it’s aiming to be a world leader when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) technology following the government’s decision to begin trialling ‘electric highways’ capable of charging cars on the move.

If implemented, so-called electric highways will be one of the greatest step forwards for increasing EV numbers in the country, by removing fears of range anxiety and allowing for them to travel even greater distances.

This will be achieved by transmitting electricity wirelessly to cars from beneath the surface of the road, which the ESB in Ireland previously said it had tested with a modified version of the Nissan Leaf.

Announcing the decision, England’s roads authority, Highways England, said the decision to begin trials follows the publication of a feasibility study into ‘dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies undertaken by future transport researchers TRL.

On England’s roads by end of 2015

Highways England’s chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said in a statement that it hopes to begin trials of the electric highways before 2015 comes to a close.

The trial is expected to last a period of 18 months and will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.

The UK government has promised to pump £500m into EV-charging technology over the next five years.

“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,” Wilson said.

Road at night image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic