In Edinburgh, Scotland, they are starting what they say is a groundbreaking trial with the wireless charging of electric vans. Four modified Vauxhall vans will hit the road with a thin loading platform at the bottom. They are parked above electric pads for charging. They are charged in less than an hour without the need for a plug.
Funding for the pilot will come from the UK government’s Office for Low-Emission Vehicles through its Innovate UK innovation agency. The £1.6 million project is led by Flexible Power Systems (FPS), in partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council and Heriot-Watt University. Michael Ayres, Director of Flexible Power Systems, said: “Wireless charging could bring efficiency benefits to fleets in terms of the number of chargers required, the time required to charge and the space in depots, all obstacles to electrification”. Heriot-Watt University wants to ensure that the research project has real relevance for the logistics world. That is why they are collaborating on this project with industry representatives from LogisticsUK and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Requirement for autonomous driving
The project is based on the idea that it could accelerate the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Professor Phil Greening, deputy director of the Center for Sustainable Road Freight, believes that wireless charging is an important technology and indeed an essential requirement if commercial vehicles are to carry goods autonomously in the future.
Greening explains: “There are huge challenges to overcome if we want to see autonomous commercial vehicles on our roads. For the past three years, we have explored future scenarios using advanced computer modeling to determine the benefits of wireless charging and find solutions to these challenges. While shared infrastructure and collaboration offer great potential to reduce the cost of decarbonising last-mile logistics, we need to consider complex planning and commercial trade-offs.”
Michael Ayres: “In the future we will even be able to use driverless vans as no one is needed to connect the charging cables”
Emission-free transport in Edinburgh
Edinburgh already uses electric vehicles in its fleet. Offering charging infrastructure such as shared hubs is an important next step. The aim is to ensure that both the council and the community have confidence in the cost, reliability and range of electric vehicles. Edinburgh City Councilor Karen Doran, and Deputy Councilor for Transport and Environment, is pleased that her city can participate in this trial Participate. The project is in line with the pursuit of cleaner, more sustainable transport in the Scottish capital.
“By partnering with Flexible Power Systems and Heriot-Watt University, we can explore how new technology can support the introduction of more electric vehicles into our fleet and other commercial organizations. It’s these kinds of innovations, along with our own plans. for electric vehicle charging in the city, which will be crucial for our transition to zero-emission transport.”
Automatic fast charging at the charging docks
Momentum Dynamics, the manufacturer of the charging system, says the system is suitable for charging speeds from 50 kW to 150 kW. The system can also automatically charge the batteries while handling the packages or cargo at the loading dock. From the moment the vehicle parks at the charging dock until it drives off, Momentum’s wireless charger will automatically charge the battery without the driver having to do anything.