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This South Korean Town Has Roads That Charge Electric Vehicles As They Drive
August 8, 2013
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The South Korean town of Gumi has just introduced some cool new tech: roads that charge electric vehicles as they drive on them.

Public buses in Gumi are using the technology, which is called OLEV (it stands for Online Electric Vehicle).

According to the developer, the vehicle-charging roads are the first of their kind anywhere in the world.

At the moment, two public buses are running on the tech, with plans to add 10 more by 2015. The route they take, which is located in the centre of the town next to the train station, is 11 kilometres long (or 22 kilometres round trip).

Cables buried under the road create magnetic fields, which a device on the bottom of the buses then converts into electricity.

It's called induction - the same technology that wirelessly charges electric toothbrushes and smartphones, but on a much larger scale, PopSci reports.

Rolling out similar systems elsewhere could help encourage people to use electric vehicles, as well as bringing down costs for car manufacturers, according to Kyle Russell from Business Insider.

At the moment, he writes, most electric cars without gasoline engines only have a range of 160 kilometres or less before they need to recharge. Roads that charge vehicles could extend that distance.

But one expert told the BBC that the costs associated with installing the equipment in roads means it would be less practical than other wireless charging solutions, like stations where vehicles stop or overhead wires.

"There is clearly a lot of potential for this technology for public transport applications, but for private electric vehicles the cost of fitting all roads with such systems may be prohibitive," said Dr. Paul Nieuwenhuis from the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff University.

A research study associated with Gumi's OLEV network suggests that only five-15 per cent of roads would need to be electrified to make the technology workable.

Via PopSci

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