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Highways England confirm off road technology trials

Trials will see if low emission vehicles can travel safely without recharging their batteries.

Highways England has announced that trials of the technology needed to power both electric and hybrid vehicles will take place before the end of the year.

Expected to last approximately 18 months, the trials come after Highways England commissioned a feasibility study to investigate wireless technologies fit for this purpose.

The trials, which will investigate how ultra-low efficient vehicles could travel across major roads throughout the country without needing to charge the battery, also fit nicely into some of the aims set out in the government’s Road Investment Strategy.

Within this long term programme for the country’s motorways and major A roads that will tackle objectives up to 2021, there is a commitment to installing plug-in charging points at 20-mile intervals on the motorway network.

Following the completion of the procurement process that is ongoing, trials will commence later this year and will test how technology will work both effectively and safely on major A roads and motorways so that motorists can travel fair distances without the need to recharge.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities. The government is already committing £500M 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.”

Vehicles for these off road trials will be fitted with wireless technology, while equipment will be tested and installed under the road in order to mimic the conditions expected on a motorway.

Highways England’s Chief Highways Engineer, Mike Wilson, said that these trials are key for sustainability on the roads.

“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.”

If the trials are successful, they could be followed by some that take place on the country’s roads.