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OLEV at Korean Amusement Park  (Source: PhysOrg)
Charge strips are placed under blue line the tram follows

Anyone who has ever traveled to a major amusement park knows the dread that is felt when facing a long hike to the gates from the parking lot. Amusement park goers can also appreciate the trams that typically run along the parking lot roadways which take visitors to and from the gates.

Most of these amusement park trams are powered by standard combustion engines or perhaps natural gas. A major amusement park in South Korea has debuted its new tram system that is electric and uses a "recharging road" to stay juiced. The tram is designed to look like a train engine and pulls three carriages to take passengers to and from the park gates. The tram system is called the Online Electric Vehicle or OLEV.

A blue line that runs up the road is positioned along the route the tram rides and has power strips under the surface of the road that are able to deliver power to the trams electrical system as it drives over the blue line. According to the researchers behind the prototype OLEV, if the amusement park trial proves to be successful, there are plans to try the recharging road system on a bus route in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

The total length of the prototype route at the park is 400 meters. Under the OLEV tram is a system that allows the pickup of electricity from the strip under the road surface and then distributes the power picked up to either the vehicle for propulsion or the battery for storage.
PhysOrg reports that if the system is trialed in Seoul, the power strip recharge stations will only be placed on 20% of the bus route at places where the bus sits for extended periods like bus stops, parking lots, and intersections.

The OLEV system was designed by the state-funded Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the research team has applied for over 120 patents relating to the system. 

KAIST president Suh Nam-Pyo said, "Of all the world's electric vehicles, this is the most economical system." Suh claims that the system developed at KAIST costs about a third as much as other electric vehicles to operate. Suh also said, "The potential for application (of this technology to public transport systems) is limitless. I dare say this is one of the most significant technical gains in the 21st century."

Among the breakthroughs that were made to make the system possible was a way to transmit power to the pickup device on the vehicle chassis using magnetic methods. The team claims that the system it developed can transmit power from the underground strips to the vehicle across gaps of up to 25cm. At the amusement park, the prototype system uses a gap of 11 centimeters to account for bumps in the road.

AFP reports that technology for the system was first developed in association with the University of California Berkeley, but the developed tech ultimately failed to produce tangible results. KAIST also plans to use the charge strip system to move attendees and delegates of the G20 summit from one place to another in November.

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RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By Pneumothorax on 3/10/2010 12:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
It really isn't revolutionary, rather evolutionary as this seems just a further refinement of Induction that's been around for awhile. Ever have an electric rechargeable toothbrush? Majority of those are charged by induction.

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By dragonbif on 3/10/2010 1:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
It is true about the toothbrush but it takes forever to charge. This thing would need to push a lot more power for it to work. Also have you seen the other cities with electric busses and trolleys? Ugly is all I have to say about that, all those wires and rails all over the place eww. This just has a blue line painted on the road and they could make it any color they wanted, pink they could make it pink!
It is true that induction has been here and there but not like this and not in a way that could be used by all cars on the road. You are thinking to small with what they are looking at, I see a lot more that could be done with it. You could make floating cars with it too!

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By Drag0nFire on 3/10/2010 1:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
Makes me wonder a bit about the efficiency. How can all the power being wasted through inefficiencies of induction based charging be more economical than wires?

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By VeauX on 3/10/2010 2:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that's old technology. A lot of cities in france have electric trams that are all but ugly, no wire, hidden rails, pretty neat in fact.

Take a look there:

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By dragonbif on 3/10/2010 3:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Now that looks nice ;)

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By afkrotch on 3/10/2010 7:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
I still see rails.

RE: A bit of hyperbole?
By MadMan007 on 3/11/2010 5:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
You should feel right at home while riding one and using your Win XP laptop.

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