South Korea has launched the world’s first road-powered electric vehicle network to charge public buses while they’re on the move.
The challenge with electric vehicles — well, one of them — is that to actually, you know, go anywhere, they have to be stationary for significant blocks of time so they can charge. Some measures have been proposed, such as solar panels that can provide energy while the car drives, and even electric highways that can provide power wirelessly.
South Korea is the first to deploy such a road: the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
Two electric buses will travel between Gumi train station and the In-Dong district, a 15-mile round trip, with power supplied via a technology called Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance, developed by KAIST. Electric cables under the road’s surface create electromagnetic fields. A receiving coil on the bus’s underbody tuned to that frequency converts it to electricity, storing it in a small battery about a third of the size of a regular car battery. In this way, the cables can supply 60kHz and 180kW of power remotely at a stable rate, with a gap of around 6.5 inches between the bus and the road.