What a great idea, to have an environmental friendly vehicle that gets charged while driving! This system is known as the On-Line Electronic Vehicle (OLEV). It uses the Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) principle. You probably remember this principle from those wireless charging pads used to charge mobile devices.
This innovative application to vehicles has been developed in the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the research group came all the way to the Netherlands to present their story of success on the rise. Until now, four OLEV Bus Systems have been implemented in the world (KAIST University Campus, Seoul Grand Park, McAllen Texas and the Boston’s Logan Airport).
The project leader, Prof. Dong Ho Cho, explained that the technology was developed back in year 2007. The Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) technology took one year to be completed, while fulfilling regulation issues took almost three years (frequency allocation, road structure, electrical safety and vehicle certification).
But that is not all! This research group has high ambitions. They are currently working on the OLEV Tram, OLEV Train and OLEV vehicles. Furthermore, as conceptualized by Nikola Tesla (1905) in the future the same principle can be used to transmit energy to the whole world through a solar-powered satellite!
With a total investment of 3.42 billion dollars in their first 2.3 Km-system in Korea, the benefits of OLEV systems are: reduced weight and price of battery, proven safety, conditionally unlimited driving distance, no charging downtime and no need for charging stations.
Dr. Young Jae Jang talked about the cycle life of the OLEV Bus system. Considering that a technology goes through the following phases: introduction, implementation, performance improvement, efficiency improvement, reliability improvement, cost minimization and product maturity, Dr. Young explained that the OLEV Bus system is currently in the performance/efficiency improvement phase.
Dr. Young is now focusing on optimizing the design of the OLEV bus system considering a trade-off among the following design parameters: battery size, charging infrastructure size, charging infrastructure location and number of charging points. For this purpose he has decided to analyse separately two types of environments: closed and open.
Closed environments have the following characteristics: finite vehicle operation, expected velocity profile, no traffic congestion and predictable environment. Open environments have the following characteristics: unspecified number of vehicles, various velocity profiles, traffic congestion and an unpredictable environment. Ultimately it has been determined that in order to analyse closed environments the optimization approach is sufficient while in order to analyse open environments, a simulation optimization is needed.
To learn more about this exciting project check out this nice video.