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England is Exploring Electric Car Charging Lanes

Illustration for article titled England is Exploring Electric Car Charging Lanes

One of the biggest concerns with electric vehicles is whether they’ll be able to hold enough juice to get you from A to B. But what if we didn’t have to worry, because we could charge our cars on the highway? England will soon be pilot-testing tech that could lead to EV charging lanes.


Later this year, England will build an off-road testing site where electric and hybrid cars will be fitted with wireless technology that allows them to charge up using unspecified equipment beneath the ground. Highways England, the government agency behind the project, has already completed a feasibility study on the potential use of dynamic charging systems under road surfaces. But at this stage it’s hard to get too excited, since we haven’t been told anything about the actual technology the government plans to use. More details on that once a contractor has been appointed, Highways England says.

England aims to run experiments for 18 months before deciding whether to pursue an on-road trial.


The idea of car charging lanes isn’t new per se: Buses in South Korea can already charge in specific routes using magnetic fields that generate electricity. A few years back, Japan was also working on a wireless charging system that could deliver power through several inches of concrete. (And gamers will know that the real innovator here is Nintendo, which invented charging strips in the timeless racing game F-Zero, 25 years ago). But it’s exciting to see more countries doubling down on a clever concept that could help spur widespread adoption of EVs.


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Top image: F-Zero screenshot

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This actually seems environmentally irresponsible. Induction charging traditionally has a high degree of loss. In an era where we are looking for an efficient transmission of power and we are looking to cut back on overall usage this seems to be a poor choice. Assuming this is powered by non-renewable energy even partially this could end up being a very poor choice.

I don’t understand why we would ever invest in something like this when just adding fast-charging stations and making them ubiquitous would be cheaper and more environmentally responsible.