While sales are still lagging behind estimations made just a few years ago, road travel has been impacted by the apparition of all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
But for the battery-powered electric vehicles, there’s one major issue – the so-called “range anxiety” – meaning the driver could run out of power before it reaches the next charging station, thus being unable to travel on longer distances. One possible solution is to have more charging stations – in the UK the Road Investment strategy has envisioned long term installing of charging points every 20 miles of roads. But now Highways England and the British Government have just embarked on a better – albeit futuristic – journey. This year, after an already ongoing procurement process ends, they will introduce a new technology called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer(DWPT): simply put, drivers can recharge wirelessly their electric vehicles while travelling across the motorway surface. “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,” commented in a statement Highways England head engineer Mike Wilson.
While being conducted off road, the trials will also involve the modification of electric vehicles to accept the wireless recharging technology and the testing of special equipment, which is being built underneath the road, all designed to accurately replicate motorway driving. During the next half decade, the UK government will invest 500 million pounds ($781 million) to fund the research and development of the project – part of their wider approach to lift the usage of low to zero carbon emission vehicles in circulation in the country.