United Kingdom Is Testing Roads That Recharge Your Electric Car As You Drive
Electric vehicle manufacturers are still having a tough time to woo customers to buy them. The main reason for the same being the long charging times and the unavailability of filing station for electronic vehicles. Also, to add to this, the limitations that are there for the rate at which you can charge a battery.
Well, all these problems can be gone for good, if the UK government is successful in testing a special road surface that actually charges your car as you drive. This week, the UK government announced that it wants to begin testing this tech, and soon.
Highways England, is a government organization responsible for road infrastructure maintenance. Announcing last week, Andrew Jones, Highways England and Transport Minister said that off-road trials of dynamic wireless power transfer technology are expected to start later this year and run for 18 months” before the on-road testing begins.
UK government is looking for bids from contractors wanting to develop the test infrastructure. In a press release, UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “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. As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses.”4
Electric car charging points won’t be dismissed completely; however, Highways England has said it’s committed to installing plug-in facilities every 48 km along the motorway network.
The government will install the devices on the test road and a select number of vehicles and determine if the charging can work on Britain’s busiest roadways. The test road built will also show how smaller sub-stations, AC/AC converters, and power transfer loops can provide inductive charging built into the road itself.
In basic terms, the system has power lines connected to coils under the surface of a road, which then transmit the electricity through the air to a receiver coil in a car. Simply driving down the stretch of a road in a properly-equipped electric or hybrid-electric vehicle will power up the batteries.
The report notes that the power transfer could most likely work for all types of vehicles. Further, it would not require building any contraptions above ground that could increase risks of collision or electric shock, since it goes under the road. Also, the wireless transfer is less cluttered and invasive.
There is no clarity though on how much of a charge the material used for making the roads is going to provide, but it would definitely increase the amount of time cars could last between full charges at home or a designated charging station.
“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways and major A roads,” Highways England chief highways engineer, Mike Wilson, said in a press statement. “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 a dynamic battery charging could solve the matter of electric vehicles running out of charge, and how at the same time it can reduce fuel costs for drivers and also lessen fuel emissions have given birth to the idea of test drive. The boosting of electronic cars on the road would make a lot of financial sense for the UK government, considering that the European Union charge fines to countries that do not meet the emission criterias. Also, if this works for the highways of Britain, it might just change the game for long-distance electronic vehicle travel.
Meanwhile, South Korea has already been testing a wireless road charging system in the town of Gumi on a special 7.5 mile (12km) stretch of road that powers up specially modified electric buses, which use Shaped Magnetic Field In Resonance technology built into the road surface to receive a charge as they move along.