Electric vehicles could be recharged on the move by a system built into motorways and a-roads. Trial to test feasibility.
Wireless Electric Car Charging While Driving
Electric cars could be charged on the move by a system built into motorways and a-roads if a trial proves successful, Highways England confirmed. The purpose of the off road trial – that starts later in 2015 – is to test the necessary equipment in replicated motorway conditions. The process is expected to last 18 months and more details will be revealed once a contractor is appointed. If successful, the next step is to assess the system on a public road.
This technology has the potential to bring electric vehicles into the mainstream. As things stand, an electric car is typically recharged via a plug socket. This process can take many, many, hours. Even a fast public charging port – that might be found at a motorway service station – typically requires 30 minutes to complete an 80% charge. Equally significant, an electric vehicle has a very limited mileage range compared to a petrol-powered model. Charging on the move would significantly reduce such issues.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The government is already committing £500 million over the next 5 years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology”. This, he added, “will help boost jobs and growth in the sector. Jones concluded: “We continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses.
Highways England Chief Highways Engineer, Mike Wilson, added: “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.” Mr Wilson concluded: “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.”
How Wireless Charging Works
A network of this nature is years away – if it happens - but even now an electric vehicle can be charged without a cable while parked. The Qualcomm Halo system incorporates a base pad that is placed (say) on the floor of a garage or buried in the surface of a car park. It is connected via cable to mains electricity. The motorist simply parks above this base pad. As it is connected to mains power, the pad produces a magnetic field that extends beyond its physical boundaries. This comes into wireless contact with a receiver in the vehicle that subsequently charges the battery.