South Korea has rolled out the world’s first road-powered electric vehicle network.
Hailed as the future of transportation, electric vehicles have failed to woo the masses mainly because they can easily run out of power miles before reaching a recharging station. Trials of wireless charging have been taking place for some time, with on-the-go recharging mostly still in the research phase. Said to be the first network of its kind in the world open for regular use, a pair of Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) motorbuses can recharge by driving over specially-equipped asphalt in Gumi, South Korea with technology originally developed by scientists at the KAIST Graduate School for Green Transportation.
Electric cables just beneath the road’s surface transfers power electromagnetically to the coach, rather than stopping from time to time to power up. The technology is similar to that of charging mats for smartphones, in that it also relies on electromagnetic conduction. The charging works both while the buses are driving and when they’re sitting still. Currently, the public transportation route takes the electric motorcoaches on a roundtrip journey of roughly 15 miles or (24km). Road-powered electric vehicles are exciting because they only require small batteries, significantly reducing their overall weight and thus their energy consumption. KAIST’s Dong-Ho Cho commented:
It’s quite remarkable that we succeeded with the OLEV project so that buses are offering public transportation services to passengers.