The UK is to begin tests on a system later in 2015 that will charge electric cars while they drive along the country's motorways and major A roads. Such a system would remove the "range anxiety" felt by drivers who worry about running out of power between charging stations.
The trials will initially take place on private roads before switching to the public highways if 18 months of testing are deemed successful. The tests follow the completion of a feasibility study commissioned by Highways England into the technology, which is known as "dynamic wireless power transfer".
Although some versions of the Tesla Model S can achieve up to 300 miles on each charge, most electric cars struggle to go beyond 100 miles without needing to be plugged in for several hours; charging vehicles as they drive along the country's motorways and major A roads would improve this situation greatly.
The testing coincides with the government's long-term plans to install electric car chargers every 20 miles on the motorway network.
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."
Currently, the number of electric vehicle charging points is dwarfed by the amount of petrol stations. While there is a good spread of chargers in London and the south east, smaller towns and cities – and rural areas especially – suffer from a lack of charging points. Installing wireless chargers under the country's roads will eliminate the need to look for a charger for many drivers.
Mike Wilson, chief highways engineer for Highways England, said: "Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we're committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on our motorways and major A roads. The off-road trials of wireless power technology will help create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country."