In the not so distant future, wireless charging for electric vehicles may be coming to a highway near you. Highways England, the government company that manages England’s major roads, is set to conduct an 18-month trial to test wireless charging technology. The ultimate goal of the effort is to eventually incorporate this technology into England’s highways, so that drivers may charge as they cruise.
Following the release of a comprehensive feasibility study by Highways England, the field test was approved and will begin later this year. In the upcoming test, electric cars will be equipped with wireless equipment that is designed to capture and store energy transmitted by corresponding machines installed underneath the road’s surface. These initial tests will occur on specially designed tracks. Full details of the test will be released shortly.
The British government has already committed its strong support to the program. “The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities,” says UK transport minister Andrew Jones. “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.” The government is willing to make such a commitment because the environmental and economic benefits are clear. “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,” says Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson.
In addition to the wireless charging project, Highways England has committed to a long-term EV infrastructure plan, in which plug-in charging stations will be installed every 20 miles along the country’s highway system. If the energy for this system is sourced through solar power, whether from panels or actual solar roadways, England’s future highways may become the greenest in the world.