The fledgling electric vehicle industry is fraught with problems including so-called 'range anxiety' and the long wait for charging at stations, but an EV developed in South Korea could show us a glimpse of future public transport.
The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is an electric vehicle that can be charged while stationary or driving -- removing the lengthy wait at a charging station between trips.
This is one of first examples of fully-electric transport currently on the road. Unlike a tram, the OLEV doesn't need pantographs to feed power from electric wires strung above a route; instead, the vehicle is fed power wirelessly through "shaped magnetic field in resonance (SMFIR)" technology. Developed by KAIST, the technology sustains vehicles from electrical cables buried under the surface of the road. Magnetic fields are formed, and a receiving device installed on the underbody of the OLEV converts these fields into electricity.
Only a few sections -- roughly five to 15 percent -- of road had to be rebuilt with such cables for the OLEV to run.
The team says that the OLEV comes equipped with a small battery -- one-third of the size used for a standard electric car -- and complies with human safety regulations for international electromagnetic fields (EMF) standards of 62.5mG. In order to save power and reduce the risk EMF exposure, power strips are able to distinguish the OLEV from regular cars, switching off when necessary.
Up to 180KW of power can be transferred.
Beginning August 6, residents of South Korean city Gumi will be able to use the OLEV public transport, where it will run on an inner city route between the Gumi Train Station and In-dong district, a distance of 24km.
Dong-Ho Cho, a professor of the electrical engineering and the director of the Center for Wireless Power Transfer Technology Business Development at KAIST said:
"It's quite remarkable that we succeeded with the OLEV project so that buses are offering public transportation services to passengers. This is certainly a turning point for OLEV to become more commercialized and widely accepted for mass transportation in our daily living."
Image credit: KAIST