The UK government is working on something that could potentially revolutionize land transportation.
Just imagine driving from coast to coast without having to refuel your car.
This may sound impossible, but if Highways England succeed in developing roads that can charge electric vehicles as you drive, the dream will become reality. And don’t think that they are far from the solution, as testing is well under way.
Cars would be fitted with a wireless charging technology and when driving down these special “charging” roads the car battery would re-charge thanks to an electromagnetic field that would be emitted from underneath the road.
Electric cables would be buried underneath the road in order to generate an electromagnetic field which would be detected and “caught” by a coil inside the car and transformed into electric energy to power the vehicle.
Trials are about to begin and they will last for around 18 months before Highways England decide whether they will move to on road testing. If the initial trials succeed, the project will be moved to public roads. The fact that the UK government will invest £500 million (around $785 million) in the project during the next five years means that this is not just a silly side-project, but the government is really trying to make this dream a reality.
“The potential to re-charge low-emission vehicles en-route offers new exciting possibilities. The UK government is already investing £500 million over the next 5 years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will definitely help boost jobs and development in the sector,” said Transport Minister Andrew Jones during an interview.
This isn’t the first time this type of technology has been implemented.
In 2013, the town of Gumi in South Korea has switched on a 7.5 miles-long road which enables electric buses to be charged with the help of similar technology.
Mike Wilson, the Chief Highways Engineer at Highways England stated:
“Vehicle technology is advancing at an ever increasing pace and we are dedicated to supporting the growth of ultra low emissions vehicles on our England’s motorways and major roads.”
He also added that “the off-road trials of wireless charging technology will aid in creating a more sustainable road network and open up new business opportunities for companies transporting goods across the country”.
The trials are scheduled to begin later this year.
A wireless charging device will be fitted into a vehicle, and the technology will be tested in conditions similar to those on England’s motorways. The trials are to last for around a year and a half, and if the technology passes the initial testing, it will be followed by on road testing in real-life conditions.
Besides developing wireless charging technology, the UK government has also committed to installing traditional plug-in charging stations every 20 miles on England’s motorway network.