Electro road: Charge-as-you-drive highways being created for electric trucks

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It has been announced that a project has secured funding to develop sections of highways in the UK for electric HGVs to charge as they travel to help provide a viable solution to decarbonizing the logistics industry.

The potentially game-changing technology is being co-developed by Miralis, a transport-focused software and data science company, has partnered with Honda R&D Europe, Honda Japan, TRL and Galliford Try on a project funded by the Department of Transport and managed by Innovate UK.

Electro Road focuses on cutting-edge, state-of-the-art research carried out by Honda Japan. The company has developed conductive technology which has been shown to charge smaller vehicles effectively – this latest project will discover how this technology can be applied to HGVs and how best it can be deployed across the UK’s major highways.

Addressing the government’s plans to ban the sale of fossil fuel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, the Electro Road project offers an in-depth feasibility study into an electric road system that would enable larger vehicles to charge whilst traveling.

To date, there has been zero transitioning of HGVs to electric in the logistics industry due to a lack of suitable vehicle and charging options.

Electrifying HGVs poses unique challenges. Given the typical range required of larger goods vehicles, a large capacity battery would be required to cover the distances. Adding heavier batteries to vehicles that can already be up to 44 tonnes, will diminish the vehicle’s efficiency. So larger vehicles will need a way to recharge their batteries on the go.

Dr Will Maden, research director at Miralis, explained:

“This really could be a game-changing project in the race to decarbonize transport in the UK. Logistics firms know they need to plan for their EV transition but with no viable options currently on the table, the race is on to find a solution that will drastically reduce emissions in the industry.

Reducing emissions in transport and logistics is at the very top of our agenda, and at the heart of everything we do at Miralis, so to be partnering with companies at the forefront of electric road system technology is very exciting for us. We’re delighted to be working together and keen to see what can be achieved in the coming months.”

The project will run for 9 months, with a report expected in Spring 2022.

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