Real-world trial of wireless electric vans goes live in Edinburgh 27 August 2021

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.

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

“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.

City of Edinburgh Councillor Karen Doran, transport and environment vice convener, said: “We’re really excited to be part of this trial. Our commitment to supporting cleaner, more sustainable transport in the capital, both as part of our City Mobility Plan and our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030, starts with our own fleet, and advances such as this will help us achieve our goals.

“By working with Flexible Power Systems and Heriot-Watt University we’ll be able to explore how new technology can support the introduction of more electric vehicles to our fleet, as well as in other, commercial organisations. It’s these kinds of innovations, along with our own plans for electric vehicle charging across the city, that will be crucial to our move to zero emission transport.”

Council fleet manager Scott Millar said: “We already use electric vehicles across our fleet and providing charging infrastructure like shared hubs is an important next step to ensure both the council and the community feel confident about the cost, reliability and range of electric vehicles.

"All councils are looking at ways to reduce transport emissions in cities, and we’re excited to take a leadership role here as a successful project in Edinburgh could show them the way forward.”

The trial runs to April next year.

Transport Engineer

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