Wireless van charging trial taking place in Edinburgh

The world’s first trial of wireless van charging has begun this week in Edinburgh.

Four specially modified Vauxhall electric delivery vans are to operate around the city for Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh Council. When their batteries run down, instead of plugging them in they will be parked over an electric pad in a parking space where they will be fully charged within the hour.

Flexible Power Systems (FPS), the technology company behind the wireless van charging project say that this could ”could revolutionise the home delivery landscape”.

“Wireless charging could offer fleets efficiencies in terms of number of chargers needed, time required for charging and space in depots, all barriers to electrification,” said said FPS MD Michael Ayres. “In future, driverless vans could even be used, as no one is needed to plug in charging cables.”

Two vans are being used by the university’s estate team while the two council vehicles are to move internal mail around the city. A similar trial involving a UK food business is set to be begun later this year.

A number of supermarket chains are electrifying their last mile delivery fleets, with the largest, Tesco set to be fully electric by 2028. Ocado, Asda and Co-Op are following suit.

“There has to be electrification of vehicles in future, we can’t go on burning fossil fuels,” said FPS chief engineer, electrical systems James Derby. “Wireless is now part of the mix of advanced charging technologies we can offer fleets adopting EVs.”

Funding for the £1.6m trial is being provided by the UK government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles through its innovation agency Innovate UK.