A consortium in Edinburgh is to trial a wireless charging network for light commercial vehicles, following the award of £1.6 million in research funding from the Office for Low-Emission Vehicles (delivered through Innovate UK).
Comprising of Heriot-Watt University, Flexible Power Systems (FPS), and City of Edinburgh Council the trial – which starts in the Spring of 2021 – will explore how shared charging hubs can increase commercial fleet electrification across the UK.
The wireless charging hubs, supplied by Momentum Dynamics, will be installed at Heriot Watt University’s Edinburgh campus in early 2021 to service specially adapted vans from both City of Edinburgh Council and Heriot-Watt’s estates team.
Michael Ayres, Managing Director of FPS, said that high-power rapid chargers could be expensive both in terms of the chargers themselves and the electricity network infrastructure required to support them.
He said that splitting the cost of chargers and the connection through a shared charging hub could mitigate a portion of these costs and the project would test the sharing of charging hubs between logistics, retailer, local government, and university owned commercial vehicles.
“These charging hubs require high use to be economically viable. The project uses powerful wireless charging to shorten the time vehicles need to be in the charging hubs. At the same time, we are investigating adding basic fulfilment capabilities to improve the productivity of logistics vehicles visiting the hubs.”