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South Korean City to Operate Electric Buses That Can Charge Wirelessly

August 14, 2013

The new Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) bus can charge wirelessly via a receiver on the bus and power strips embedded in segments of a road's surface.
The new Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) bus can charge wirelessly via a receiver on the bus and power strips embedded in segments of a road's surface.

A city in South Korea is operating electric buses that can recharge wirelessly while driving or stationary. The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), uses what KAIST is calling “shaped magnetic field in resonance” technology (SMFIR).

SMFIR involves power strips embedded in a road surface and a receiver on the vehicle. According to KAIST, the power strips need to be installed in 5 to 15 percent of the road surface in order to provide enough power for the OLEV. KAIST said this means only small sections of road would need to be rebuilt with the embedded power cables.

The OLEV uses a small battery, roughly one-third the size of a battery in an electric car, according to KAIST. The power strips embedded in the road can turn on when an OLEV bus passes over them and off when other types of vehicles pass over.

Gumi City in South Korea plans to operate two OLEV buses, each of which will run a 24 km inner-city route. The city plans to put 10 more OLEV buses into service by the end of 2015, according to KAIST.

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