Back in September, we told you about electric buses in Geneva that are flash-charged–which means they’re rapidly powered up via a laser-directed arm–when they approach a bus stop. Now, researchers at the Utah State University have tested an electric bus that does away with the arm and charges wirelessly through induction. The technology was designed by Utah State University’s Wireless Power Transfer Team and the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative’s Advanced Transportation Institute.
Here’s how it works: on the ground at every bus stop is a plate that recharges the battery-powered bus each time it drives over it. The charging plate doesn’t have to charge the battery completely. Instead, it gives just enough of a boost to get the bus to the next stop on the route. The advantages are obvious: zero air pollution and increased fuel savings.
The system is now being commercialized by the Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE), a Utah State University startup, according to Wired. Prototypes are only in Utah for now, but WAVE is reportedly in discussions with New York, Seattle, and Monterey, California, to introduce the buses by the end of 2014.PD