The idea behind an Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) is relatively new, but has been thoroughly researched over the past year or so. Now, A South Korean Amusement park is testing a prototype designed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), who hopes to have a fully working design ready within a year or two.
The system relies on a set of charging strips buried under the pavement. As the trolley passes over them, energy is sent magnetically through not contact power cells and routed straight to the electric motor or stored in the onboard batteries. Over the 400 meter span of road the prototype currently covers, only 4 charging strips are required.
Another advantage of using this OLEV system is that there is no longer a need for large onboard batteries. Due to being recharged at regular and predictable intervals, it will take much less power to keep the vehicle moving on a regular route as compared to relying on a single charge to last half or all of a day.
KAIST is using this system to prepare for a large testing they plan on carrying out on several Seoul bus routes in the future. According to the designers, only 20% of the route would need to have charging strips installed, ideally at bus stops, intersections and parking places. This would provide more than enough power to keep it moving indefinitely.
KAIST is currently collecting data on the prototype and plans to refine it before moving it onto public roadways. Gizmag