South Korean technology could provide viable, Global EV charging infrastructure
Unlike conventional charging points, vehicles pick up electricity from power cables buried underground through a non-contact magnetic charging method and replaces a trackless combustion engine train running inside the park.
The power pickup equipment installed underneath the OLEV collects electricity from the road itself and distributes the power either to operate the vehicle or for battery storage. Whether running or stopped, the OLEV constantly receives electric power through the underground cables. As a result, OLEV mitigates the burden of equipping electric vehicle with heavy, bulky batteries – the OLEV's battery size is one-fifth of the batteries installed in electric vehicles currently on the market.
A road embedded with underground recharging strips is divided into several segments so that, when a car drives on a certain segment, a sensor in the segment is turned on, and the car above the segment picks up electricity. Because charging occurs in transit there is no need to establish charging stations or set aside time for recharging that leaves the vehicle is idle.
Such technology would almost certainly provide not only a solution for motor manufacturers, but also a cure for “range anxiety”, which appears to be a major deterrent for some motorists when considering the purchase of an Electric Vehicle. In time, KAIST hopes OLEV technology may be considered as a more viable method of powering the country’s Electric Vehicles in busy, built-up towns and cities – with South Korea already testing OLEV technology along a bus route in Seoul.
KAIST has reassured many over the public safety of OLEV technology, with electromagnetic radiation (EMF) test results for OLEV being well below the 1998 the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guideline, 62.5mG at 20khz.
The introduction of the OLEV train is the second step in KAIST’s roadmap towards the eventual commercialization of the technology. The next step involves the development of practical prototype technology for OLEV (2011), followed by the development of standard prototype technology (2012) and finally the introduction of a commercial product to the market in 2013.