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First public wireless charging test goes live in South Korea

The project is being undertaken by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in partnership with the city and sees two electric commuter buses recharge wirelessly whilst driving over specially equipped roads.

Developed by KAIST, the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) can be charged while stationary or driving, thus removing the need to stop at a charging station. The two OLEV buses will run an inner city route between Gumi Train Station and In-dong district, for a total round trip of 24km (15 miles).

The bus will receive 20kHz and 100kW (136hp) electricity at an 85% maximum power transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 17cm air gap between the underbody of the vehicle and the road surface.

The bus receives power wirelessly “Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR)” technology, which uses electrical cables buried under the surface of the road, creating magnetic fields. A receiving device on the underbody of the OLEV converts these fields into electricity. The length of power strips installed under the road is generally 5%-15% of the entire road, requiring only a few sections of the road to be rebuilt with the embedded cables. 


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.’

Pending the success of the trial, Gumi City plans to provide ten more such buses by 2015.

Natalie Middleton

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