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Wireless-charging electric van trial goes live

A ground breaking real-world trial of wireless electric vans goes live in Edinburgh today.

A ground breaking real-world trial of wireless electric vans goes live in Edinburgh today.

The £1.6 million project is led by Flexible Power Systems, in partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council and Heriot-Watt University.

Initially, four modified Vauxhall vans will take to the streets, fitted with a slim charging pad on the underside. To charge, they are simply parked above electric pads, and they’re topped up in under an hour with no need to plug in.

“Wireless changing could offer fleets efficiencies in terms of number of chargers needed, time required for charging and space in depots, all barriers to electrification. In future, driverless vans could even be used, as no one is needed to plug in charging cables,” said FPS managing director Michael Ayres.

Funding for the trial is being provided by the UK Government’s Office for Low-Emission Vehicles through its innovation agency Innovate UK.
Autonomous vehicles.

Heriot-Watt University has been working with industry representatives from LogisticsUK and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to ensure its research in this project has real world application and relevance.

Professor Phil Greening is deputy director of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, a joint initiative between Heriot-Watt University and Cambridge University.

Professor Greening says wireless charging is a cornerstone technology and an essential requirement if commercial vehicles are to transport goods autonomously in the future.

He explains: “There are enormous challenges for us to overcome if we are to see autonomous commercial vehicles on our roads. Our role for around the past three years, has been to explore future scenarios assisted by advanced computer modelling in order to determine the benefits of wireless charging and find solutions to these challenges.

“While shared infrastructure and collaboration have great potential to reduce the costs of decarbonising last-mile logistics, there are complex scheduling and commercial trade-offs to be considered.

“Our research will help accelerate the decarbonisation of last mile deliveries and crucially reduce the cost of those operations.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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