Highways England confirms ‘electric highways’ charging trials this year


Under-road electric vehicle charging systems are set to be tested for the first time in the UK later this year.

Highways England has today confirmed plans for around 18 months of off-road trials into how ‘electric highways’ technology can work safely on the country’s motorways and major A roads.

The scheme was first revealed by Transport Network in March, although Highways England could not confirm it officially.   

When introduced, the innovation could allow drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge their car’s battery.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The Government is already committing £500m 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.’

The experiments will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and installing monitoring technology underneath the road.

Full details on the trials will be revealed when a successful contractor has been appointed, with Highways England anticipating they will get underway in the next five months.

While Highways England is already committed to installing plug-in charging points for electric vehicles along every 20 miles of the motorway network, the expansion of wireless charging technology could be a significant step for uptake and the production of greener vehicles.

Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said: ‘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.

‘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 follow completion of a feasibility study commissioned by Highways England into dynamic wireless power transfer technologies.

Surveyor's Highway Management conference will take place on September 23rd and 24th in Manchester. To register go to: www.highway.surveyorevents.com

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