Automotive

UK to trial in-road wireless charging tech for electric vehicles

UK to trial in-road wireless c...
The technology could allow EVs to be driven for longer distances, without the need to stop and charge their batteries
The technology could allow EVs to be driven for longer distances, without the need to stop and charge their batteries
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Highways England is to carry out off-road trials, with a view to carrying out subsequent on-road trials
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Highways England is to carry out off-road trials, with a view to carrying out subsequent on-road trials
The technology could allow EVs to be driven for longer distances, without the need to stop and charge their batteries
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The technology could allow EVs to be driven for longer distances, without the need to stop and charge their batteries

Technology to power electric vehicles wirelessly from under the road surface is about to be trialed in the UK. Highways England has announced that it plans to carry out off-road (test track) trials with a view to carrying out subsequent on-road trials of the technology, which is designed to increase the range of EVs.

The concept of embedding electric vehicle charging technology under the road has been explored by Stanford University and used to power buses in Korea. These trials, however, are said to be the first of their kind.

UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones says the trials will help to keep Britain at the forefront of the development of this technology. "The potential to recharge low-emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities," he says. "We continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses."

The trials follow the completion of a study by Highways England into the feasibility of wireless in-road charging and potential solutions. Highways England is the government organization responsible for maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads. It says the trials will test if the technology could work safely and effectively on motorways and A roads.

Highways England is to carry out off-road trials, with a view to carrying out subsequent on-road trials
Highways England is to carry out off-road trials, with a view to carrying out subsequent on-road trials

For the trials, vehicles will be fitted with the requisite wireless technology, and equipment will also be installed underneath a test-road surface. Full technical details will be released once a contractor has been appointed to build the system.

The testing will replicate motorway conditions and, if successful, may ultimately mean that EVs could be driven for long distances without the need to stop and charge their batteries. Highways England says it is also committed to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles (32 km) on the motorway network.

The trials are scheduled to begin later this year and are expected to last for approximately 18 months.

Source: Highways England

10 comments
Robert Walther
Not only a good and obvious idea, it might even work in the US to get government off its thumbs and start repairing the highway/infrastructure. Let's get a gas tax that fits a scale based on the price of gasoline at the pump. Oil is going to stay cheaper in the US, and probably the world until our new Iranian allies invade Saudi Arabia.
JweenyPwee
The heck is an AC to AC converter....
byrneheart
Given the weight of batteries and the added power required to move them, if enough of this infrastructure was installed then electric cars without batteries might be possible.
Lightwave
The simplest and least expensive solution would be to imbed neodymium magnets, which don't need a current going through them like an electromagnet does, in the road, put pick-up coils under the cars, and when you drive over the magnets current is produced...like the magnet on an air cooled engine's flywheel turning past the coil to produce the spark that runs the engine.
Martin Winlow
@Lightwave - And where does the energy to keep you moving come from? I think you should do some research on the expression 'over unity'. MW
LeMinhDuc
@Light Wave: completely wrong, if you don't provide energy, then there will be no energy for the car. In your example, the coil in the car will create a force that will slow down the car, it is a closed system without additional energy, it will consume energy instead of creating it.
Wolf0579
It will never fly in the US unless you can bill the car's owner for the juice. That's just the way the money grubbing, greedy corporations work here. Thanks, Ronald Reagan. F-ing jerk.
Bryan Paschke
Very simple, very obvious...and the obvious way to let the corporations benefit would be toll roads. Car would carry a battery good for 100 miles, toll road would supply power to run the car and keep the battery topped off. 100 miles can be driven between toll roads (eg off the toll road, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house). Long as you're less than 50 miles from the toll road at your destination, you don't even have to beg a recharge, just get back to the toll road and recharge as you go.
Rann Xeroxx
Battery technology will advance far more quickly than building out billions of dollars of infrastructure for this kinda system. I can see it taking place of light rail and buses that use electric overhead wires though.
CraigMoore
I drive an EV so I know what a problem charging the batteries can be on a long trip. At home and at work charging is simple and there is enough time. On the road, charging takes more time than driving if you can find places to plug in at all. Faster charging requires the right equipment, of which there is very little due to the expense. So, if all you had to do to charge up and go were to get on the highway and drive, we would have little trouble getting around in our electric vehicles. We would rely less on heavy batteries to go the distance.