Recharging road – Korea’s good idea for EVs

Wow. That wasn’t too hard to figure out, but then again, I didn’t figure it out.

In September, the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST) demonstrated the technical concept for the On Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV) using individual cars (which were really kind of cute – see them here). Today, the KAIST launched an actual prototype electric train that draws energy through non-contact magnetic charging from power strips embedded in the road. The train, with three cars, is now in use at an amusement park in Gwacheon, south of Seoul. The power strips are only required in 400 meters of the 2.2-kilometer (1.4-mile) route, or about 18-20 percent of the total distance. KAIST will build a larger system in Seoul for buses if the technology in the train proves successful.

Why is all this important? Because, by drawing energy from the road as it moves along, the train can use a battery that is only 20 percent as large and powerful as would otherwise be required. There’s a serious cost reduction as well – with the cost shifted to installing the power strips into the road. Overall, the total cost for electric vehicles is about a third of what standalone electric vehicles cost.

So only 20% of the road is needing to have these charging strips. That isn’t too bad. Imagine these strips all over a downtown city, meaning no car would have to recharge as long as they were within city limits. And these wouldn’t be too hard to install on freeways too, every 1/5th would have these placed in the road. It could replace the lines on the road now, instead of keeping inside of them, we would just drive directly over the lines? This has a lot of potential, hopefully it leads to some good solutions to the charging of EVs.

via autoblog green


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