Drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles may soon be able to charge as they go, using “exciting” new technology.
New technology is being tested by Highways England that could allow electric car owners to charge as they drive.
The trials are the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work on the country’s motorways and major A roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery.
Electric and hybrid car sales are on the rise in Britain with a total of 9,046 ultra-low emission vehicles registered in the first quarter of 2015 – a rise of 366% from the same period in 2014.
The Government hopes that the new technology could entice more drivers who may be put off by the current distribution of charging points.
Off-road trials of the Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer technology will begin later this year after a procurement process.
The trials will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.
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 trials are expected to last for approximately 18 months and, subject to the results, could be followed by road trials.
As well as investigating the potential of wireless power, Highways England also says it’s committed in the longer-term to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway network as part of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy.
The UK Government has committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.
In 2013, 25% of UK CO2 emissions were from transport, so there is a drive to increase the use of Low Carbon Vehicles.