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“Electric Road” System Powers City Buses In South Korea


southkoreanpA revolutionary technology called “electric road” is being tested in the South Korean city Gumi. The system allows public buses to recharge their electric batteries as they travel.

The cables buried underneath the tracks power the vehicles through a non-contact magnetic charging system, which connects to an Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) technology fitted to the bus.

The makers, The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), has already tested the system within the company campus, and they are now ready to take it up to a city level.

The OLEV technology sounds near perfect. The power that it gathers from the underground cables can either be used to drive the vehicle, or simply to charge the battery. Because of the constant supply of electricity, the battery size does not have to be larger than a fifth of a conventional EV battery.  In addition to this, the non-contact system replaces fully the need of the overhead wires that we’re all used to see.

Unfortunately, no great invention comes at a cheap cost. With each OLEV being worth around $630,000, the biggest challenge in front of KAIST is to bring down the price of the super technology.

Park Jong-Han, manager of the company that produced the OLEV prototypes, is certain that the cost is the only reason for the limited interest. If the company manages to reduce the price, he ensures that many cities will include the technology in their transport network.

This is particularly the case since not much work is needed to electrify the roads. The charging stations are required at not more than 15% of the routes.

It is certain that we will hear more about the testing of the technology, and let’s hope we are able to see it soon without having to visit South Korea specifically.

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