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French motorway to test if electric lorries can charge while driving

If the trial on the A10 south-west of Paris is successful, the technology could be rolled out on a larger scale

Lorries with electric batteries may no longer need to rely on charging ports to top up their batteries Pic: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock

A major motorway operator in France is set to trial an innovative scheme that is aimed at allowing electric lorries to charge their batteries while driving. 

Vinci, which manages over 4,000 km of French motorway, will undertake the experiment, testing two different systems – the induction and rail corridor methods.

The experiment will run on a small stretch of the A10 motorway, near Saint-Arnoult, south-west of Paris. 

The €26 million trial is being funded partly by the government. 

If successful, it could be rolled out on a large scale across France.

Innovative charging systems

Two small sections of the motorway – going towards Bordeaux – will be used for the trial. 

Both sections will be installed after the A10 tolls at Saint-Arnoult.

One section will see vehicle batteries charged using induction technology, and the other via a rail corridor on the side of the motorway. 

Induction technology will see vehicles charge their batteries by driving over electromagnetic stretches of road, via a coil placed under the vehicle. 

Normally, cars have to be static to charge this way, but the experiment will test the ability to provide ‘dynamic induction’ and charge batteries even when the vehicle is moving at high speeds.

Rail corridor charging will see vehicles automatically hook up to a rail designed to charge the car batteries, using a mobile arm attached to the vehicle’s chassis.

In both instances, however, the lorries are still able to drive along the motorway as they are being charged.

Alongside lorries, all electric vehicles, including cars, will be able to test the feature and drive on the designated charging section.

At the beginning of the trial, however, it is unlikely that many private vehicles will have the correct technology (mobile arm or correct charging coil) installed to benefit.

The trial is set to be a basis on the expansion of one of these systems across a greater length of French motorway.

The government is aiming to introduce an ‘Electric Road System’ on all of the country’s major roads, which would allow electric vehicles to to charge whilst driving.

Alongside the trials on the A10, private tests on implementing an electric charging system on France’s motorways will continue in Rouen. 

Related articles: 

French motorway breakdown fees have gone up, here is what you pay now

French firm invents kit to convert petrol cars into plug-in hybrids

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