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OLEV stands for Online Electric Vehicle and it is a development of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The core of the project is electric vehicle supplied with energy by the road it travels along. In this case the electricity is provided by cables built-in the road. These cables do not require permanent direct connection to the vehicle they power. Instead, they produce magnetic field which is transformed into electricity by devices carried onboard. This feature excludes a lot of the elements that are typical for the most electric vehicles at present, such as heavy batteries, overhead trolley lines, and they don’t have to stop for recharging. Some kind of disadvantage could be the limited range of these busses as they’re not able to run aside of the road that supports them.
[Image Source: Wikimedia]
The space between the bus floor and the asphalt is 17-cm (6.7-in) which is sufficient for receiving 20 kHz and 100 kW (136 horsepower) of electricity at a maximum power transmission efficiency of 85 percent. Embedding of the power cables required excavation of 5 to 15% of the road surface.
The busses will serve route in the South Korean city of Gumi and will connect the In-dong district to the train station. This route is 24 km (15 miles) long.
Electromagnetic field levels inside the vehicles fit the safe limits, and also the cables in the road are turned on when they detect the arriving bus. It is expected that these features will minimize exposure to the magnetic fields of pedestrians and other vehicles, and will also protect from wasting energy.
Such technology has previously been tested in a tram at an amusement park in Seoul. Another 10 of these busses will be putted into service if there are no problems with the currently operating ones.