Wireless online electric bus

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed an Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) bus that receives power wirelessly from electrical cables laid underneath the surface of the street using Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) technology. Two of the new buses have just hit the streets in the city of Gumi, South Korea. (Video)

The buses carry a battery that’s one-third the size of those in traditional electric cars and charges by collecting 100 kilowatts-worth of electricity from magnetic fields created by the electrical cables, as the bus rides about 17 centimeters above the surface of the road. They’re efficient, too, using 85 percent of the power that’s emitted from the lines.

Researchers have high hopes for the technology, which was originally developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The SMFIR tech was unveiled a couple of years ago at Seoul Grand Park, a zoo and amusement park in the country’s capital, but the hope is roll it out in more cities over the next few years. Any why not? The start up costs are minimal since the power cables don’t need to be laid under the entire road, just sections along the route, and because those sections are only activated when a bus drives over them, the power use is minimal.

In the larger scheme of things, it’s hard to see SMFIR technology this being applied to regular passenger vehicles since you’d have to rip up all the roads everywhere to install the cables. However, there are plans to start sending OLEVs around the world. The next stop is the Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia and Park City, Utah. The kids at Sundance will just love this.


Via Gizmodo