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S. Korea tests ‘electric road’ for buses

AFP-JIJI

A South Korean city has begun testing an “electrified road” that allows public buses to recharge from buried cables as they travel, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said Thursday.

The institute, which developed the system, said it would be tested over the next four months on a 24-km route in the city of Gumi.

Equipment underneath the bus, which is being referred to as an online electric vehicle (OLEV), sucks up power through a noncontact magnetic charging system that uses strips buried under the surface of the road. The power is then used either to drive the bus or to recharge the battery.

The technology allows the battery to be shrunk to just one-fifth the size of a normal EV battery. The system also eliminates the need for the overhead wires that power conventional trams or trolleys.

But the technology does not come cheap: Each OLEV costs around 700 million won ($630,000). The system has already been partially tested on a much smaller scale at an amusement park and on the institute’s campus.