It seems like every week there's a new scheme for making electric vehicles a reliable transportation option for the masses, but a team of South Koreans at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) today launched what may be one of the most feasible plans we've seen. The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) gathers power magnetically from electric strips buried below the road's surface as it travels, eliminating the need for long-term recharging.
The OLEV now in service in Seoul tows three passenger buses behind it, shuttling them around a preset route at a Seoul amusement park. Recharging strips were installed in four segments along the route, totaling about 400 meters of battery-restoring pavement. A receiver mounted on the bus's chassis picks up the current through a contact-free magnetic system that collects juice with 70 percent efficiency. That electricity powers the motor and recharges on-board batteries that kick in when the bus isn't near a charging area.
The beauty of the OLEV isn't just that it's electric, but that, because it charges while it's operating, it rarely needs long periods to recharge or huge batteries to store large quantities of power. KAIST researchers estimate that if the system is adapted to Seoul bus routes -- as it should be, if it passes muster during this amusement park trial run -- only 20 percent of the roadway on bus routes would need power strips installed. By installing the strips in places where buses idle, like bus stops and busy intersections, they can more or less run continually using nothing but electric power and can do so with a battery one-fifth the size of that on conventional electric vehicle.
That saves on both cost and passenger space, making the OLEV more efficient all around, and that's not even factoring in the cost savings of not having to wire entire bus routes to keep the vehicles powered. Further, once the city lays down enough electrically charged roadway, there's nothing to stop other vehicles from adopting the tech.
There's no set timeline for rolling out OLEV tech on city bus routes, but Seoul does plan to show off the technology by using OLEVs to bus around G20 delegates when the summit is held there in November.
So, do we think the "electrically charged roadway" would have to be on all the time? Certainly it does not for this small application since thre should be a sensor to tell the section of road that the tram is coming. But for the buses and if other vehicles adopt this strategy, I wonder how it would cycle on and off, and what kind of efficiency this energy transfer has.
Isn't this really just one step better than putting bumper car poles on all our cars?
Correct me if I'm wrong as it's been awhile since I thought about magnetic fields and power transfer, but I don't think it would have to cycle on and off. It would only use electricity from the "grid" when the magnetic field was disrupted by the bus being on top of it.
Although, it will take some thought to make this into a technology that can be regulated and metered. As you know, you can't just give away anything. You could regulate each station but that doesn't keep people from stealing it and adding to the transportation authorities electricity bill.
and a slight boost to the power output could be used to fry speeding motorists or jaywalkers
Now that we are talking of high power transfer to moving trucks hanging a cable over the highway is cheaper than cutting the asphalt. Only poles every 20 meters need to be installed. When available electrically fitted 18 wheelers can extend their pantograph and pick up high voltage for an electrical cruise ( while charging on-board batteries). As train transportation is more efficient than highway transport this must be efficient.
This is really quite good, but it will require the next generation of power sources to run. Citys probably couldnt handle the extra load on the grid. If the whole "solar collection road" works out it would be kinda possible, or fusion.
if we improved on this, and placed parking-lot recharging pads, which are individually activated parking spaces, about every 100 miles along major us highways/interstates, with a standardized recharger-kit standard, that would be useful/profitable. but with the Tesla Motors vehicles, which i would rather buy than some hybrid, building recharging stations would be more efficient, less expensive.. if their range is about 300 miles per 45minute charge, (via wired charging), then we could get by with installing recharginglots every 150 miles, or smaller lots every 75 miles, just so nobody gets stranded somewhere halfway. I think that the transformer-pad style charger here would require more materials, and be more expensive, due to the massive amount of coils most likely involved, the underground wiring, and the asphalt/pavement.
Tesla Motors. the name makes me wonder if they will someday release something even more awesome, like the name Tesla brings to mind. but with all the big corporations hungry for profit, you can't expect anything truly epic. you remember the story, the oil companies/power companies suppressed Tesla's inventions, He was the kind of guy that would release a go-phone with WiFi, touchscreen, etc. when all the phone companies sell their WiFi-capable devices only if you buy their dataplan, because it makes them more money in the longrun, even though it defeats the purpose of having WiFi.. i mean i know you can't have wifi everywhere and 3g/etc. really comes in handy because it is more omnipresent.. this charging pad is like wifi, more like bluetooth because the range is shorter in comparison.. Nikola Tesla had created a wireless power network that was more omnipresent, like 3g. why are we just now stumbling onto short-range wireless power transfer when we should be doing what he was doing? isn't that why we switched from analog to digital, so we could bring up the Wireless Power Transfer network, and Skynet?
we need to figure that stuff out. Nikola Tesla's wotk should be digitized for all to see, instead of the fairy tales with no schematics, or real documentation. the car that ran seemingly forever on a car battery, some electronics in vacuum tubes, an antenna and an AC motor.. the great "Magnifying Transmitter"..
all of which was probably regarded as 'sorcery' and burned at the stake because he was born a century or 2 too early.
This is pretty keen stuff, but it has some limitations. It would probably work best for fixed route vehicles.
As for the tech -- did you notice that the charging is 70% efficient. Direct contact is pretty much 100%, so that's quite a loss.
Also, you'll want to make sure that the charging is only 'on' when the vehicle is over it. The demo system probably doesn't generate too large of an AC magnetic field, but much larger vehicles could require fields that could be hazardous to pacemakers, disk drives, and a host of other things.
Plus installation of these charging areas won't be any piece of cake. You'll have to rip up fairly large sections of roadwayto install some sort of coil or other field shaping device. The device will require some signficant power, and its field may actually be distorted by nearby large metal objects.
I still think that it's a good idea -- streetcars without the fixed tracks and high voltage lines, but it is somewhat complicated.
OLEV is a gem. It looks so cool too! The color ! I also must confess to be a fan of alternative fuel and from this will definitely encourage clients heading to Korea to use this cool mode of transport. I have just read an article where the first motorbike hover will be ready for production during 2011. Look where we are going! The SKY!
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The problem I see with these awesome new technologies is the looks, will people sacrifice the look of their vehicles to safe money and safe the earth? If want to get more people to switch to these sort of technologies we need better looking products.
The OLEV is a magnificent idea, but it's not scalable.
Korea always come up with unique and innovations. Surely with the help of this blog on the power from the road one is going to gain high information.