Wireless power transfer tech: Trials set for England’s offroads

Posted: August 12, 2015 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, innovation, Travel

Charging station [image credit: Dean Wormald]

Charging station [image credit: Dean Wormald]

The UK has an impressively large development budget for its so-far unimpressively small collection of electric cars, as Phys.org reports. Is there any high-tech cure for ‘range anxiety’?

Wireless charging technology that is built into the road, powering electric cars as they move, is to undergo trials on England’s offroads. Announced on Tuesday, the technology will address the need to power up electric and hybrid vehicles on England’s roads. The trials will get under way later this year.

Key questions that the trial will address: will the technology work safely and effectively? How will the tech allow drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel longer distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery? The announcement referred to “dynamic wireless power transfer” technologies where cars are recharged while on the move.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said that the government is already committing £500 million over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology. The trials will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.

These are offroad trials and are expected to last for approximately 18 months. Subject to the results, they could be followed by on-road trials.

Read the rest here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Don’t forget to have a 5-figure sum handy when that old electric car battery pack finally gives up the ghost.
    Or trade it in every few years and let someone else take the pain.

    Press release: http://www.gov.uk/government/news/off-road-trials-for-electric-highways-technology

  2. pochas says:

    Here’s a totally impractical idea: Embed coils of wire in major highways and electronically generate a traveling wave of magnetic flux to provide both motive power and speed control to suitably equipped vehicles, essentially, a linear electric motor. Off the highway, you revert to battery power.

  3. Curious George says:

    How about an electric car riding on railway tracks?

  4. BLACK PEARL says:

    All this to solely negate CO2
    So can someone confirm the amount of CO2 to manufacture a battery for the Nissan Leaf
    Last I read around 14,000 lbs about 6 tons
    So how does an electric car offset this amount in the 3 or 4 years it lasts before having to be replaced with another 6 tons of CO2

  5. oldbrew says:

    Electric cars are only zero emission at point of use. Who wants to rely on the wind to blow before charging up?

    If electric cars ever did start to sell in serious numbers the increase in electricity demand would be drastic. Renewables could never cope.

    C George: when the car runs out of charge nobody can get past 😦

  6. oldbrew says:


    Local paper ‘reports that the car was a private hire minicab’ (not Uber).

  7. ivan says:

    One thing I see that is missing from that report. Just where is the extra electricity coming from when you consider that a lot of the base load generators are going to be taken off line very soon?

    Please don’t say wind power. Polish factories are having to shut down because of lack of power as the windmill are stationary through lack of wind – in fact most of Europe has either stationary windmills or they are drawing power from the grid to stop the gearboxes failing.

  8. Keith Willshaw says:

    This is a ridiculous boondoggle that will cost taxpayers a fortune. Wireless power transfer efficiency falls of rapidly as the distance between transmitter and receiver increases. Even if you use the latest Magnetic Resonance Field Enhancers (MRFE) the best you can hoper for in ideal conditions with around 2 mm gap is 70%. Make that gap 200 mm and you’ll be lucky to hit 20%. testing this is easy, find a phone with wireless charging and lift it a fraction off the charging plate.

    Losing 80% of the power is not a way to decrease energy use.

  9. Stephen Richards says:

    Isnt this the same con as putting solar panelled roads down?

  10. Fanakapan says:

    As oldbrew points out, electric cars are really nothing more than a displacement exercise. And were it ever to be the case that they would ever achieve even half of existing car numbers, the extra generation required to power them, and the sheer nastiness involved in the toxic chemical manipulation involved in the needed battery infrastructure would make existing emissions from IC powered transport look minor indeed.

    At the current state of electricity storage knowledge, electric cars are nothing more than toys for those who have the excess liquidity needed to be able to play with them. And let us not forget that many if not most of the electric transport bright ideas are the recipients of large amounts of taxpayer subsidy.

    Sadly the whole concept of electric vehicles is being used by politicians to mesmerise vast numbers of the ‘Middle Class’ public who know well when to appear to show concern, and then quickly pass by on the other side 🙂

  11. steverichards1984 says:

    This will push the price of copper even higher.

  12. Green Sand says:

    “This will push the price of copper even higher.”

    Along with “Tarmac” another wondrous ‘carbon’ free product manufactured by our newly found Unicorn workforce

  13. nzrobin says:

    And what will happen to the person with a pace maker, or metallic parts in his body? And will it comply with the ICNIRP rules on levels of non-ionisg radiation allowed for public exposure?

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Wonder what this will do to laptops, media, cellphones, …

  15. dp says:

    What next – GMO humans to be conveyed on state highways to their labor camp to turn out the rudiments of societal need? I’m thinking ants/termites, here.

  16. oldbrew says:

    Along the same lines:

    ‘In January 2014, Arriva in The Shires launched a ground- breaking trial in Milton Keynes, operating eight battery-electric buses which can be topped up by contactless recharging points on its Route 7. The wireless charging technology lets the buses run all day and could save 600 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.’