Korea rolls out OLEV electric car-charging highway

Korea has been working on a wireless power transit system designed for charging electric vehicles for some time now, having been testing the system for many months. The system is called OLEV, which stands for Online Electric Vehicles, and works using technology embedded beneath the road. Now a section of highway in South Korea has been launched with the system, bringing it to the public.

The system is pretty ingenious, and works using power cables that are buried beneath the roads (meaning existing roads would need to be pulled up for the system to be implemented). Those cable then work in conjunction with Online Electric Vehicles to charge the cars using magnetic resonance transfer.

Specifically, the technology works by generating 20kHz frequencies into an electromagnetic field. The OLEV vehicles are equipped with regulators and inverters that are compatible with this, turning it into electricity for the motor and bus, something you can see in graph form in the image above. The benefits of this are plenty.

For one thing, the system is free – drivers don't have to pay for the charge their electric vehicle receives while cruising the road(s). Another benefit, obviously, is that one doesn't have to park and leave the vehicle plugged in to recharge, and by proxy the car can go farther distances because it is charged as it drives, increasing its overall range.

While the system has wide applications, it is currently only implemented for the public on a 15-mile stretch of highway in the Gumi city of Korea. Two OLEV buses have been deployed with the technology that enables them to accept a passive charge from the road, with Gumi planning to boost the number of buses to 10 by 2015.


Image via Kaist