U.K. To Test 'Electric Highways' Designed To Fuel Electric Cars

Aug 13, 2015 01:33 PM EDT | John Nassivera


Auto experts in the U.K. have found a potential way to let electric cars travel greater distances: electric highways.

The U.K. government announced Wednesday that it will begin testing technology designed to charge electric vehicles and hybrids while driving, according to Fortune. The project will be undertaken by Highways England, the government division that oversees motorways and major roads, which will begin experiments with the technology later this year on a dedicated track.

The vehicles in the test will be fitted with wireless technology, and the equipment will be installed underneath the road to replicate real-life driving conditions.

The trials are expected to last around 18 months and will be the first of their kind, Wired reported. On-road trials are expected to follow.

The goal will be to help electric car drivers avoid having to recharge or possibly stall on the highway when their fuel runs low.

"The potential to recharge low emission vehicles on the move offers exciting possibilities," U.K. transport minister Andrew Jones said in a press release. "The government is already committing 500 million pounds over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector."

Highways England previously conducted a feasibility study to find out how wireless charging infrastructure could be installed in the U.K.'s major roads, as well as how drivers might have to pay for the energy, Forbes reported.

The division has yet to reveal which vehicles it will test or what companies will provide the wireless charging technology.

"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," Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said, Discovery News reported.

The U.K. also plans on making driving on its roads more energy efficient through its Road Investment Strategy, which focuses on improving road conditions and adding more lanes to improve traffic and safety. The country also plans to install plug-in charging points every 20 miles along its roads.

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