Highways England Announces Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer Project

AUG 22 2015 BY MARK KANE 40

The bus can be wirelessly charged at one of its stops via a charging station located under the road surface (1). A receiver, mounted in the bus floor, absorbs electric energy (2) and charges the batte

Stationary wireless charging

Highways England announced a new ambitious trial project of dynamic wireless power transfer to enable EVs to drive using electricity from the grid.

Later this year, the UK will launch an 18-month off-road trial, which could be followed by on-road trials.

Ability to charge during driving on the highway for sure would completely transform electric mobility, but there are so many technological, standardization and investment issues that we don’t think this will catch on.

For now, Highways England stays committed to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles.

“The trials are the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work safely and effectively 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.”

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The government is already committing £500 million 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.”

Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson said:

“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.

The off road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country.”

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40 Comments on "Highways England Announces Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer Project"

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How many $ per mile will these systems cost??

In order to get a decent charge you need about 30 minutes of charge so at 60 MPH you would need 30 miles of these wireless charging strips.

Sounds expensive unless they got utilized around the clock.

I would be perfectly fine if they deliver enough energy to half my consumption while driving 60mph. That alone would double the range (driving at roads where this is implemented). But again, I think there are way to many losses (and costs) involved.

They are not quick charging roads, they only give you enough energy to continue driving.

I envision it as a dedicated “slow” lane. Minimum speed on the interstate is 40 mph, … so let’s say it’s a 40 mph lane.

It looks like wireless “super charge” transfer rates are already picking up, so let’s say a 20 minute run will be sufficient. Now you’re talking less than 15 miles of charge lane and if you were averaging 65 mph before, the 15ish mile charge only sets you back less than 9 minutes.


At 200 Kw (mentioned in the link below), that would be 66 KWh added for only about 8 minutes lost (20 minutes in the 40 mph charging lane). When you factor in that you don’t have to exit the highway (off ramp, on ramp, pay at the pump, traffic lights …..) then you start to see “dynamic EV fueling” takes less time than filling with gasoline or diesel …..thus, taking away the most cited advantage of conventional ICE vehicles.

Agree, just plug the car in and charge it up.

With wireless charging, I thought losses while moving where tremendous… something like 90% at 10mph.

The government is willing to pay that price to keep a tight grip on the people and never let them go to a decentralized way of living.

Costs of installations and maintenance would be prohibitive compared to installing recharge stations. And the heavy losses of efficiency will have to be paid by the tax payers, as well as the added pollution.

This type of “road charging” technology may seem far-fetched but has legs. In some ways it’s a throwback to electric trolley cars. I would not be surprised to see withinn next 15 years road charging for EVs start being embedded under major highway corridors.

I don’t think using overhead power lines and a pantograph power pickup on trolly EVs was all that inefficient a use of electric energy, and it certainly was vastly cheaper per mile of installation than burying what I guess would be hundreds of wireless chargers per mile on every lane of a highway. We’re talking about several orders of magnitude higher cost per mile here. But let’s put practicality aside for a moment, and consider this: If such a system was built, what benefit would it have? It would allow BEVs to operate with smaller battery packs, and eliminate the need to stop to charge on most long trips. That is the only benefit. BEVs would still need battery packs for off-highway driving. Even if every single public road was equipped with wireless chargers, it would still be necessary for pure EVs to have some sort of onboard electrical storage. If nothing else, stored onboard power would be needed to power the car in driveways, on private roads, and on detours. Also, obviously, offroad vehicles would need a lot more onboard power. Much as I would like to see the EV revolution pushed forward, I do not think taxpayers should… Read more »

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “…But let’s put practicality aside for a moment, and consider this: If such a system was built, what benefit would it have?…”

If could greatly augment (rather than replace) home charging & poi fast charging. The idea would be to have sections of highways that do not deplete the battery when traveling on that highway. Let’s say you have an EV with an AER range of 250 miles @70mph and you are planing on going on a 350 mile trip. If there was a section of highway on the route that bridged that 100 mile shortfall it would make long distance travel much more practical. Tesla’s answer to this is the Tesla Super Charger network but a national highway (while driving) charging network may be what allows the traditional car makers to compete against Tesla without having to build out their own Super Charger network.

that “only” benefit is an important one. EV enthusiasts who hope for an “EV revolution” need to understand that stuff isn’t free and such a “revolution” will require a substantial investment in infrastructure. PR stunts from elon musk will not be sufficient.

the “electrified road” is an ideal, albeit very expensive, solution for making BEVs into a convenient mode of transportation that would lure drivers from ICE vehicles. electrified roads, to be practical, would also have to extend to many local thoroughfares, especially those with lots of traffic.

standardization will be required but the same could have been said about the internet 50 years ago. this electrified road idea, however, would be a vastly more expensive undertaking.

a HUGE disadvantage in the “electrified road” system is that it would allow the government to know your whereabouts in real time any time you drove your car. for my part, i’d rather have FCEV than this.

Standardization and cooperation with the auto industry is one hurdle that needs to be dealt with first. Another is saving money by installing the wireless strips where cars stop. Bus stations are great places to charge buses, but main arterial intersections where cars sit for minutes at a time would work best for cars and trucks.

It’s great this is being done for proof-of-concept.

The static system on trial only has 72% transfer efficiency. Expect a lot worse for dynamic for the foreseeable future. At least they are doing the research. The world would be a lot less interesting if humans didn’t ask “what if?” so much.

It boggles my mind that people keep making apparently serious suggestions about installing on-the-fly wireless chargers in public roads. If I didn’t keep seeing these crazy suggestions pop up from different directions, I’d think that they were all just repeating a hoax put over by some rather clever joker. Just two points out of many that make this scheme wildly and utterly impractical: 1. Wireless charging achieves good efficiency only when the pickup coil in the car is parked — as in stationary — directly above the charging coil in the ground/floor. Even moving the car off-center from the lane would affect the efficiency substantially. Moving the car down the road… well, that would be a fine way to waste almost all of the power. 2. The cost of building highways is already quite significant; $20.6 million for just one mile of Interstate highway. Even normal two-lane highways typically cost $1 to $5 million per mile (see source below). The cost to install and maintain a wireless charging system on all major highways would drive up the cost of road construction and maintenance to the point that… Well, words fail me. We already have a serious and growing problem here… Read more »

This video should REALLY boggle you:

OLEV (On-Line Electric Vehicle) – Introduction (KAIST)

I’ve certainly seen articles on this type of system. Powering a relative few city buses is much, much, much less expensive than trying to rebuild all the highways to power virtually every car on the road. Also, city buses frequently stop at bus stops, where even short-term wireless charging would actually make sense, because the vehicle is stopped, and therefore charging can be done pretty efficiently. Yes, there were some experimental systems built which were designed to charge the buses “on the go” using intermittent power strips under the road… but only in the bus lane, not the entire road. The video you linked to talks about 20% of the length being covered, certainly not the 100% which would be needed for continuous wireless power. Note also that city buses typically travel at fairly low speeds, perhaps 35 MPH or less. That’s also an easier engineering challenge than powering vehicles running at highway speed, because the power requirement is significantly lower. Furthermore, some of those experimental systems have already been discontinued in favor of EV buses with larger battery packs, which discontinue “on the fly” charging in favor of sitting still for a period of stationary charging at the end… Read more »
++ There used to be bus & tram systems with overhead electrical wires in many cities; AFAIK, the buses only had tiny batteries to allow the pantograph to be moved to seek the wires if it got knocked off, or moved between different lines. AFAIK, there weren’t significant safety issues with these systems, although a bad storm could bring lines down, disabling the system. Aesthetically, of course, it wasn’t very pretty. In the several cities where I personally saw them (Vancouver, BC, for one), they were only present on major streets, which meant it wasn’t cost-effective to have them on the less-traveled routes. The fact that with the re-emergence of electric city buses, none seem to use overhead lines, is a pretty good indicator that they aren’t cost effective — with modern batteries, saving the extra cost/weight of the battery apparently doesn’t cover the infrastructure installation. Also, a battery-based system is more flexible — you can reroute a bus line, temporarily or permanently, via a street that doesn’t have overheads, or use them for smaller streets; also more resilient — if a wire goes down on a street, no e-bus without battery can operate there until it gets fixed. Charging… Read more »

Seattle decided to expand their overhead-wire trolley bus system rather than retire it, and new first new trolley buses in 30 years are now coming online that have onboard batteries which enable miles of off-wire service. These buses are used on the densest, hilliest routes, and perform better in snow than the engined buses.

There’s no reason why countries should be wasting money investing in things like this. Give it a decade or two, and range won’t be an issue anyway through virtue of standard battery capacity R&D.

Well, in 1837, Harvard “scientists” announced that the human body could not tolerate travel in excess of 60mph. Hmmmm. And we all know that a heavier than air device could not possibly fly–and then there is that box in the house with the live, color picture from Paris!! Who knew? We just haven’t seen the charger that works on the run, yet.


Overall good points, but the Harvard folks were correct, even if their reasons might have been different.

With modern safety features (crunch zones, airbags, seat belts, etc.), we humans can walk away from a 55mph collision, but just barely. In fact, Pennsylvania had a slogan “55 and stay alive” for many years for this very reason (and healthcare costs). PA held out for many years before speed limits on limited-access highways were raised higher than 55mph.

Future safety protocols won’t help, because our physiology can only handle so much acceleration/deceleration without sustaining internal injury. The human body can not tolerate such speeds, if there is a sudden stop lurking around the corner…

I don’t know much about Harvard Scientists, but it seems they didn’t look pretty much outside their windows.
As far as I know bird were flying at that time as much as today and it was also well known that bird were heavier than air thus providing a good meal.
For the TV, they were just not able to forecast something that didn’t exist, that is quite different than trying to doing something different with a well known device and it’s limitation.

Citation needed.

Good thing they were scientists, and not religious leaders.

When their old hypothesis was shown to be false, they changed their view.

By this same argument, we should devote a lot of time, money, and energy into developing perpetual motion, right? Because no matter how many times such attempts fail, and no matter that the Laws of Thermodynamics actually proves that perpetual motion is impossible, that doesn’t mean we should stop trying, right? [/snark]

The advantage of real, actual science is that sometimes we really can say, definitively and without any doubt, “This is impossible, period. So quit wasting your time on it.” Sure, certain individual scientists, even famous ones, have famously failed to distinguish between “That’s impossible” and “I can’t figure out how it can be done.” But that doesn’t mean the difference isn’t there.

“Perpetual motion” … “This is impossible, period” ….. Really?
You’re getting carried away with yourself.

Look. I don’t know how the economics of all this will work out anymore than you do. There’s a lot of moving targets involved, not the least of which would be falling battery prices. But anyone with some sense of reason can see potential here.

My opinion is that wireless charging (stationary/dynamic) is going to play a big role for EV’s in the not so distant future. There’s a lot of momentum behind it, and anyone who calls the technology “impossible” is …. what’s a nice word here? ….. silly

“I don’t know how the economics of all this will work out anymore than you do.” I certainly do know the economics of this make it wholly impractical to install on a widespread basis, and only a widespread, nationwide basis would make it possible to eliminate the need for BEVs to stop for recharging on long trips. “There’s a lot of moving targets involved, not the least of which would be falling battery prices.” Cheaper batteries don’t eliminate the problem with needing to stop for a recharge on a “road trip”, altho of course cheaper batteries are enabling EV manufacturers to build BEVs with longer ranges, and thus extend the distance between recharging stops. What is needed is batteries capable of being ultra-fast-charged. That tech has been demonstrated in the lab, by several different research teams using different approaches, but the tech has yet to be commercialized. It seems to me inevitable that it will eventually be commercialized, because there is a strong economic motive to develop such batteries, so companies and researchers won’t stop until that goal is achieved. But of course there’s no way to guess just how many years it will be until that tech starts appearing… Read more »

For anyone actually interested in reading about the commercialization of this technology:

OLEV Technologies’ dynamic wireless inductive system charges vehicles while in motion

“….the system can now charge with 85 percent efficiency at 100 kW over a gap of 20 cm”

“The OLEV companies and KAIST are working on a system that would charge at 200 kW, to hit the marketplace soon. ”

“….now in pilot programs in the Seoul, Jejudo, Daejeon, and Sejong regions of South Korea…”

carcus linked to: https://chargedevs.com/features/olev-technologies-dynamic-wireless-inductive-system-charges-vehicles-while-in-motion/ Quoting from that article: “…the system can now charge with 85 percent efficiency at 100 kW over a gap of 20 cm. And with OLEV, vehicles can charge while in motion.” This is lying by implication. Sure, the vehicles can be charged while in motion. But they certainly cannot be charged at 85% efficiency, or anything within the ballpark of that efficiency, while in motion. Inductive charging while in motion is very wasteful of energy. We know how to efficiently provide electric power to vehicles in motion. We use trolly cars with overhead electric wires and a pantograph pickup; we use electrified subways with power provided by the “third rail”. Wireless charging while in motion isn’t efficient, and I seriously doubt it’s ever going to be. However, I’m not going to make the mistake Lord Kelvin did when he pronounced, in 1895: “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” So, that’s not to say researchers and inventors shouldn’t continue to do R&D on such systems. Inventors have already improved the efficiency of stationary inductive charging far past what was thought to be the limit just a few decades ago. In fact, just a few years ago I saw… Read more »

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “…But just as with hydrogen fueled cars, there should not be any taxpayer money wasted on actually trying to build out such systems so long as they remain massively inefficient…”

OK, I agree with that.

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “…and much too costly to ever be practical for widespread use…”

To declare it will never be practical is a fools bet because one can not predict what innovations may in the future be made in this field. Basically your saying your smarter than Nicholas Tesla and that Tesla was a fool to attempt to innovate/improve wireless power technology.

CDAVIS said: “To declare it will never be practical is a fools bet because one can not predict what innovations may in the future be made in this field. Basically your saying your smarter than Nicholas Tesla and that Tesla was a fool to attempt to innovate/improve wireless power technology.” I completely disagree. Your argument is based on technology; mine is based on economics. Let’s look at this another way, and make an important point that hasn’t been raised in this discussion: For stationary charging, we need an average of perhaps two chargers per car; one for home, and one (or probably only a fraction of one) for en-route charging. But for on-the-fly charging, just how many chargers under all the roads would we need, on average, for each car that’s going to travel on those roads? A dozen? A hundred? A thousand? One thing is certain: It’s gonna be a heck of a lot more than two! And who would have to pay for all those chargers buried in public roads? Taxpayers, that’s who. So no, CDAVIS, I can confidently predict that regardless of any future tech advance in wireless charging tech, this idea of an electrified roadway will… Read more »

@Pushmi-Pullyu said:

“…So no, CDAVIS, I can confidently predict that regardless of any future tech advance in wireless charging tech, this idea of an electrified roadway will always be too expensive to be practical…”

Lol…My point is that innovation often redefines what is practical. Considering you have absolute insight on the future of wireless charging, you should reach out to the boys at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and let them know they are drilling a dry hole!

Oak Ridge National Laboratory says:

“…wirless power transfer is well on its way to becoming a viable option for America’s energy and transportation future…We’re still working to develop the robust nature of wireless power technology to charge electric vehicles…But we’re getting there.”





Popular Mechanics, 1949 said:

“Where a calculator like ENIAC today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weight only 1.5 tons.”

scott franco, the evil, greedy republican

Dump the energy to a supercapacitor, then that would be used to charge the car. That could be done with a couple feet or yards of embedded roadway charger.

It would mean that the car would do an RF data exchange and be ready to send a burst at the right time, and to the right car.

THe goal (as said above) is just to get the car a couple more miles of charge. If you could get 10 miles out of it, then an embedded charger every 10 miles could do it.

I do not want to be inside the car when it gets zapped with a sufficiently powerful blast of radio frequency radiation — aka microwave radiation — to propel the car for two miles in the short time it takes to drive a few yards at highway speed… let alone a burst powerful enough to propel it for ten miles.

The story about the cat exploding in the microwave is an urban myth, but with that kind of power being pumped into a vehicle, I have my doubts about any passengers surviving, and it might well be sufficient to set fire to the interior of the car.

There would also be issues with the enormous cost of installing transmitters that powerful, and the cost of installing the high-tension electrical power system necessary to provide that level of power.

scott franco, the evil, greedy republican

microwave transmission to underground loops of wire.

I really can’t begin to describe how many stupid things you just said. Live free in ignorance my friend.

“scott franco, the evil, greedy republican” said:

“microwave transmission to underground loops of wire.”

Um, no, microwave transmission from underground loops of wire to the pickup loop on the bottom of the car.

Since you clearly don’t understand how wireless charging works, here’s an article for you:


Now, the basic mechanism is magnetic resonance, not microwave beamed power. However, the way such wireless systems achieve relatively high efficiency in wireless transfer is by using a very high frequency resonance; a resonance in the radio frequency range. With an extremely powerful blast of power as you described, a lot of that energy would leak as microwave radiation to the surrounding area… including the interior of the car.

“scott franco, the evil, greedy republican” continued:

“I really can’t begin to describe how many stupid things you just said. Live free in ignorance my friend.”

A piece of advice, Scott: Check your facts before you accuse someone of ignorance and stupidity.

And don’t call me your “friend” while spreading misinformation contrary to the actual facts in one of my posts.