UK government testing ‘electric highways’ technology

First of their kind trials will take place in the UK later this year, as ‘electric highways’ technology is tested to see if it would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major A roads. The technology has been designed to allow drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop charge batteries.

‘Dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies

The trials have been announced on the back of the published feasibility study commissioned by Highways England into ‘dynamic wireless power transfer’ technologies.

“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on our England’s motorways and major A roads,” said Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson.


Layout of a typical DWPT system.

Wireless power technology

Opening up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country, the off road trials of wireless power technology will also help to craft a more sustainable road network for England.

Once the on-going procurement process is completed, the trials are expected to begin later this year. Trialling the system entails fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions. When a successful contractor has been appointed, full details of the trials will be publicised.

Road trials could follow

The trials are expected to last for approximately 18 months and, subject to the results, could be followed by on road trials.

As well as exploring the potential to install technology to wirelessly power ultra-low efficient vehicles, Highways England is also 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.