So you’ve been thinking about global warming and you want to do your part to not be part of the problem. The most dramatic way to shrink your carbon footprint? Ditch the dead dinosaur burner (the gas powered car) and get an electric one instead. But what about those long road trips I like to take? You’re having range anxiety, the fear that the trip you want to take will outstrip the range of your electric car, which in most cases is somewhere around 60 miles. Well, in England they’re hard at work testing a technology embedded in the road that charges your car while you drive on it. Cool, huh?
They’re calling the technology "dynamic wireless power transfer” (or WPT)
Andrew Jones, England’s Transport Minister announced that his government is committing £500 million over the next five years in order to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology. The experimental trials will involve both fitting vehicles with wireless technology and installing equipment under a roadway that will replicate highway conditions.
The test track trials and are expected to last for about 18 months, and if they’re successful, the next step will be trials on actual roads.
Highways England, a company owned by the British government that manages the core road network in England, had commissioned a feasibility study that examines the prospect of preparing a strategic road network for electric vehicles. Highways England has also commissioned TRL, a research, consultancy, testing and certification group for transport, was to study WPT technology for use on highways and roads to prepare for greater EV capacity.
TRL came up with a slightly different and interesting take on the issue, stating, "the purpose of the project is not to find an alternative to current plug-in charging infrastructure but rather to develop a comprehensive charging eco-system capable of delivering power to EVs via different methods. … This is to facilitate greater and more flexible use of EVs in the UK, overcome range anxiety and allow switching to zero emission vehicles for vehicle types which have traditionally been accepted as not suitable for electrification, e.g. HGVs and coaches."
If the British government can, in fact, crack the nut of range anxiety they will effectively eliminate one of the major barriers to more people buying EVs. And the more EVs we have, the less carbon we’ll have going into the atmosphere. And it’s definitely well past time that we get the transition off of fossil fuels well under way. Ice is melting all over the globe!