Cordless, on-the-go EV charging arrives in Seoul

wireless-ev-picIn the future, EVs may not be tethered to their traditional lifeline, the power cord, instead running on magnets buried directly underneath the road surface.

The Seoul Grand Park in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, Seoul recently launched a wirelessly-charged electric vehicle as part of an on-line electric vehicle (OLEV) pilot program at the theme park (press release).

The park replaced its polluting diesel-powered shuttle trains with the eco-friendly OLEV system.

In this OLEV system, developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the vehicle is charged via a 400-meter long strip of electrical charging material buried about five centimeters under the road surface. The strip creates a magnetic field, generating a force sent wirelessly to the vehicle which is converted into electricity.

The vehicle can run an additional 400 meters on the power generated from a strip. The entire system will service a 2.2 kilometer route around the park, including multiple charging strips.

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This system eliminates the downtime electric vehicles usually require for charging. The OLEV vehicles also have much lighter batteries than traditional EVs.

“The potential for application (of this technology to public transport systems) is limitless. I dare say this is one of the most significant technical gains in the 21st century,” said KAIST president Suh Nam-Pyo in an Auto Blog Green story.

Numerous safety tests and evaluations were performed to ensure the magnetic strips do not pose health risks.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to implement an OLEV system to supplement its public bus system, which provides 30 percent of the city’s transportation needs.

Over the next year, the city government will work to lay the foundations and build infrastructure for this system.

To improve air quality and cut some of its CO2 emissions, the city will adopt electric vehicles into its taxi system and the government’s fleet of official cars over the next ten years.

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