Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed an electric transport system where the vehicles get their power needs from cables underneath the surface of the road via non-contact magnetic charging. As well as potentially saving Koreans a lot of money by reducing crude oil imports, widespread adoption of the technology also offers the potential of improving air quality in currently polluted cities.
The drive towards adoption of the electric vehicle as a popular and viable means of transport is beginning to highlight a few potential road blocks which may not be enough to halt progress but may require some inventive thinking. Limitations on battery size and power, the issue of battery weight, the range of an electric vehicle between charges, how long it takes to recharge the batteries, and not forgetting the availability of charging points and who foots the bill – all currently hot topics in the world of electric vehicle creation.
There’s also a resource issue waiting in the wings to raise its problematic head some time soon. As more vehicles become reliant on drawing their power from batteries, supplies of the compounds and metals on which they are based may become less and less readily available. Dwindling stocks of things like lithium could start to command increasingly high prices and lead to electric vehicles pricing themselves out of the automotive marketplace.
Scratching the surface
Thankfully solutions are already being offered, such as the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) from KAIST. Rather than relying on battery technology, the OLEV picks up charge using a non-contact magnetic charging method (where a power source is placed underneath the road surface and power is wirelessly picked up on the vehicle itself) so it doesn’t matter if the car is moving or parked up, it still receives power.
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