An on-the-go wireless charging system from Boston’s OLEV Technologies will be tested on three Metro McAllen buses in McAllen, Texas.
Three existing Blue Bird diesel buses will be converted to battery electric operation for the trial, which has funding from the Federal Transportation Administration’s TIGGER (Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) program.
“Wireless charging can solve the EV battery problem because the vehicle is charged while it’s in operation,” says OLEV Technologies president and CEO Hikyu Lee.
“We bring the entire system,” says product manager Catherine Madden. Advantage? “Flexibility,” she told F&F. “We can select the optimal battery chemistry for an OLEV system based on our analysis of the route.” OLEV selects the most suitable vehicle driveline as well.
OLEV uses technology called SMFIR, for Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance, which lends itself to both high power wireless charging and the greater distances between energy source and vehicle receptor that make the scheme practical for transit buses, says engineering VP Roger Burns.
Initially Developed in Korea
The three Metro McAllen buses will charge wirelessly both during operation and while they pause to load and unload passengers. The project is to launch this year, supported by a $1.9 million TIGGER III grant and an additional $211,000 from the City of McAllen. An added benefit, noted Metro McAllen transit director Elizabeth Suarez, is the effective life extension of the diesel buses.
The OLEV technology solution is aimed at dedicated and semi-fixed route transit systems, including airport, campus and national park bus fleets, urban rapid transit systems and catenary-free electric trolleys and trams, as well as commercial fleets, the company says.
OLEV’s technology was originally developed at KAIST, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Three on-line electric trams at a theme park in Seoul have been using the system since July 2011.
OLEV stands for On Line Electric Vehicle.
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