South Korea switches on electric car charging road

South Korea could be speeding ahead with electric car charging on the move – installing a road which charges battery-powered buses wirelessly. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology […]

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By Vicky Ellis

South Korea could be speeding ahead with electric car charging on the move – installing a road which charges battery-powered buses wirelessly.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) says its Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) can be charged while stationary or driving. It’s the first road of its kind in the world.

Two of these buses will serve a 24km inner city route, running between between Gumi Train Station and In-dong district.

Power comes from the electrical cables buried under the surface of the road which create magnetic fields, according to KAIST. A receiving device on the underbody of the OLEV converts these fields into electricity. The technology is called SMFIR or Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance.

The power strip on the road switches on or off depending on whether OLEV buses or regular cars are driving over it.

Dong-Ho Cho, a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Centre 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 commercialised and widely accepted for mass transportation in our daily living.”

If the first two buses run successfully by the end of this year, Gumi City plans to provide ten more such buses by 2015.