KAIST develops new system to wirelessly recharge electric buses
Korea Unveils an ‘Electric Road
KAIST develops new system to
wirelessly recharge electric buses
Written by Sohn Tae-soo
outh Korea has successfully tested an “electric road”— which will surely be remembered as one of the most trailblazing and cutting-edge technologies of its kind in the world—that enables electric public buses to
recharge their batteries from cables embedded in the roads over which the vehicles drive. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has succeeded with the OLEV (online electric vehicle) project—under which electric buses provide passengers with two electric public buses started operation on the electrified road in Gumi,Gyeongsangbuk-do, on September 6, 2013.
After a trial operation between September and December of this year on a 24-km (15-mile) round-trip route linking Gumi Station and the Indong district, they will begin their official drive in January of next year. The system in Gumi—a city located some 260 km southeast of Seoul—had a final check-up in July.
The OLEV project refers to an operation system where electric wires buried under roads generate a magnetic field, thus making it possible for electric vehicles to recharge on the road. Electrification of the road did not require major construction work, as the recharging stations were buried only in five places, including bus stops. A device attached to the bottom of the bus draws up power from the road using a technology called “shaped magnetic field in resonance.” Electric cables embedded under the road create electromagnetic fields, which are then picked up by a coil inside the device and converted into electricity. The energy transfer
rate from road wires to the car has reached 75 percent. The 12 km route on the public road is the first of its kind in the world according to project developers, who added that 10 more public buses are scheduled to be added by 2015.
Core for high frequency
The battery in the electric vehicle is less than one-third the size of those in other electric vehicles, which helps reduce not only the overall weight of the vehicle but also the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during power generation, thus improving the overall efficiency of the vehicle. A brainchild of former KAIST President Suh Nam-pyo, the system has been developed by the university as part of its new “growth engine” projects. The researchers worked on the project to cope with the grave reality that carbon emissions from conventional vehicles are contributing to climate change and that fossil fuel deposits are being rapidly used up around the world.
Meanwhile, the new electric vehicle has been named one of the most promising technologies by the World Economic Forum (WEF), KAIST said. The WEF, also known as the Davos Forum, announces the 10 most monumental new technologies every year through its Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies. Officials at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said that the actual commercialization of electric vehicles that wirelessly recharge on the road will help the nation lead the world’s electric vehicle market. Skeptics both at home and abroad had warned that the costs involved in installing the equipment show that it could be less practical than other schemes, such as those in which vehicles recharge at designated locations or using cables. The commercialization process has cost up to KRW 26.6 billion between December 2011 and June 2013. But experts say that they see a lot of potential for the technology for public transport applications, adding that the remaining question is how to cut down the cost.
- OLEV bus that services Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do ©
- OLEV bus on a special road in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do