Now this is something. The U.K. will soon test an electric highway that would charge your EV as you drive. Sounds like fiction right? Well, Highways England says it’s for real.
In its press release, the British agency calls the off-road tests the first of their kind to test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery.
Here’s how it would work. The system would use electric cables installed under roads to generate electromagnetic fields and send power to a gadget under a car. While it could potentially run on renewable energy (and maybe even be combined with something like a Solar Roadway), the government is still working out the details.
“The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. 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,” says transport Minister Andrew Jones.
The trials are expected to begin later this year and will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.
The trials are expected to last for about 18 months and, subject to the results, could be followed by on road trials.
As well as investigating the potential to install technology to wirelessly power ultra-low efficient vehicles, Highways England is also committed to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway network as part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy.
All in all, it looks like Europe and Asia are leaping ahead of the U.S. when it comes to any type of solar or electric highway system, even in test mode. We’ve previously told you about test projects underway in South Korea and the Netherlands.