Soon, electric car drivers won’t even have to pull over to refuel. The UK government is well on their way to creating roads that can generate energy and charge electric cars while they are on the road.
The Highways England and Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, has announced that they will be starting off-road trials this year, as they have already completed preliminary testing and have found the best design.
Test roads have been chosen to conduct the off-road trials. The charging system, a “dynamic wireless power transfer” system, works using coils which are connected to power lines; electricity is then transmitted through the air where it is picked up by a receiver coil in the car. The system will be installed underneath the road itself, so there is no need to build any scenery-ruining structures. This design also protects everyday citizens, since there is no possibility of accidental electrocution with an underground device.
Charging electric cars as they are being driven would be one of the most convenient alternative technologies to emerge yet. As long as there are roads equipped with the technology along the way, a person could theoretically drive across an entire continent without stopping. A car that utilized both wireless transfer charging and solar power would be literally unstoppable once the proper infrastructure is in place.
A great number of electric vehicles are currently only practical for short trips, such as commuting to work and back. For instance, the BMW i3 can run for 81 miles when fully charged, and the Nissan Leaf can cover 84 miles. The Chevy Volt manages a mere 38 miles before it must be charged again, so the benefits of this new technology cannot be overstated.
Image (c) Highways England