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Transportation Power

World's First Road-Powered Electric Vehicle Network Opens 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the hopefully-not-free-of-charge dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "South Korea continues to pull out all the stops on the long road to a high-tech utopia. Last year, the city Yeosu hosted the Expo 2012, an international exhibition that highlighted emerging technology and design that attracted 8 million visitors over three months. Today, the nation has finally unveiled the world's first road-powered electric vehicle network for regular use. Here's how it works: the network runs on newly-built roads that have electric cables and wires embedded below the surface. This allows for the magnetic-resonance transfer of energy to the network's vehicles, which not only already run on small batteries (about a third of the size of a typical electric vehicle) but also do not require the plug-in-and-recharge process common to other electric cars."
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World's First Road-Powered Electric Vehicle Network Opens

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  • by slack_justyb (862874) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @07:33PM (#44492529)

    Okay so is it just me or is anyone else thinking that it wouldn't take a high school education to understand how to sap power from the road for free for powering your cell phone, laptop, or for the real inventive some parts of your house. Maybe that's just the cynic in me talking.

    Also, roads tend to wear pretty fast. So I am hoping that they have the ability to strip the asphalt around the conductors as opposed to having to replace the conductors when the road wears down. Those buried conductors are what make repaving an intersection in US a bit more expensive than say the straight road, but seeing how the intersection is but a small segment of the road entirely (except for New Jersey, admit it, your roads are that bad) it kind of balances out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When you think about it, the only place the EVs really need an external power source is on the highways. In the city, they can regularly recharge. So it is not like this needs to completely redesign transportation infrastructure. And as far as road wear, this is South Korea which has very high density travel conditions. This typically means that the roads are made of concrete to reduce the wear. An application to asphalt might be easier, actually. When you repave a road, you don't dig out the entire road (l

    • by Ichijo (607641) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @07:49PM (#44492637) Homepage Journal

      Don't worry, the problem of people trying to charge their mobile devices in the middle of the road will solve itself fairly quickly.

      • by dpidcoe (2606549)
        And if you're worried about road deaths, you can always start a public awareness campaign to get those people to just recharge their phones in the microwave as a slightly safer alternative.
    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      I would presume that while the field is quite robust, that the rate of alternation will be either absurdly fast, or very slow.

      The first poses a risk of magstrips on credit cards of pedestrians and cyclists being wiped due to hysteresis. (The whole road would be one giant bulk eraser!) The latter makes this less likely, but is less efficient for AC power transfer over long distances of roadbed.

      I suspect it will be a slow oscillation based charger, because a moving vehicle trying to get a stable wave for its

      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @08:14PM (#44492783) Journal

        I would presume that while the field is quite robust, that the rate of alternation will be either absurdly fast, or very slow.

        RTFA - or at least look at the pictures (it's in the caption of one): Feed to the coils in the road is 20 kHz, 200A.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          What!? Read the article!? Sir, do you know what site this is!? (/joke)

          In seriousness though, 20khz at 200A is enough to wipe magnetic strips in the wallets of pedestrians, and possibly to energize braces in people's mouths. (The metals used do leave ion concentrations in the saliva, making the mouth into a lytic cap, with the braces as the pickup and dielectric.) The concrete will be somewhat paramagnetic, but probably not enough to prevent the field from reaching up pretty high above the roadbed.

          I sure hop

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            Do they even use mag strip credit cards in South Korea? My credit cards and debit cards still have mag stripes on them, but I very seldom am presented with a machine that actually reads the stripe. Most have switched to the chip technology years ago. And I just live in Canada. I'm sure a more forward thinking country like Korea wouldn't even bother with mag stripes. Except, perhaps, for the sole purpose of being compatible with the United Statesian machines when travelling.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            The network isn't a theory, they have actually built one.

            Unless you can find a report of energized braces or wiped magnetic strips I think it is safe to say that it isn't enough of a problem to be a showstopper.

          • In seriousness though, 20khz at 200A is enough to wipe magnetic strips in the wallets of pedestrians, and possibly to energize braces in people's mouths.

            Not to mention the biological effects of a 20kHz electromagnetic field on the bus passengers. I assume the equipment stays within the prescribed SAR levels for dielectric heating, but other biological effects are currently still little-understood. So I'm rather relieved that the guinea pigs for this will be in Korea rather than on the bus I get to work.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Not to mention the biological effects of a 20kHz electromagnetic field on the bus passengers.

              What biological effects are you referring to? My dad was an electrical lineman, and was subjected to electromagnetic fields not at 20 Hz 200A but 60 Hz at may as well be unlimited amps, especially in the high tension 30kv lines, for eight or more hours a day for forty years.

              He just turned 82. These magnetic fields are harmless.

          • Not sure whether to mod you +1 Funny or +1 Horror..

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            In seriousness though, 20khz at 200A is enough to wipe magnetic strips in the wallets of pedestrians, and possibly to energize braces in people's mouths. (The metals used do leave ion concentrations in the saliva, making the mouth into a lytic cap, with the braces as the pickup and dielectric.) The concrete will be somewhat paramagnetic, but probably not enough to prevent the field from reaching up pretty high above the roadbed.

            I sure hope they aren't installing it in areas where pedestrian traffic will be

        • by dj245 (732906)

          I would presume that while the field is quite robust, that the rate of alternation will be either absurdly fast, or very slow.

          RTFA - or at least look at the pictures (it's in the caption of one): Feed to the coils in the road is 20 kHz, 200A.

          That sounds terrifically inefficient and a great way to waste energy.

          These solutions will never take off- the laws of physics ensure that they will always be very inefficient, and therefore not cost effective.

          • From another article about it [abysscomputing.com]:

            Transmission efficiency is an impressive 85% thanks to the âoeshapedâ part of the technology, which targets the electromagnetic field at the vehicle, so that less energy is lost to the environment.

            A tad low for a transformer, but with inches of air gap and moist dirt in the magnetic path you can expect less than ideal efficiency. It's better than many electric motors and most battery charge/discharge cycle losses. It's entirely adequate.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        I suspect it will be a slow oscillation based charger, because a moving vehicle trying to get a stable wave for its charging circuit will have "short" moments of interaction with the individual coils in the roadbed as it drives over the top, causing significant headache. This in addition to being less likely to wipe magstrips on credit cards, and the like.

        A slow oscillator will be more difficult to draw "large" quantities of electricity from, as the collector would need to be quite large and conspicuous.

        Why speculate (wrongly) when you can click through to the article?

        The SMFIR technology, also developed by KAIST, works by running power through the underground cables at a frequency of 20 kHz, creating a 20 kHz electromagnetic field. The underbelly of the bus also includes a wire or coil that is tuned to recognize the frequency and then use an inverter to create electricity through magnetic resonance.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          Because this is slashdot, and reading the article is an anathema! :D

          They are still just trading a more complex charger for the improved conductor efficiency. It means adding expensive high yeild lytic caps to the resonator circuit to keep it stable, otherwise the power delivered by the coils to the charger would be unstable, and destroy batteries.

          I am sure that whoever they have working on this knows all about such things, but I still raise an eyebrow over the potential for nuking magstrips, and possibly fr

    • Wont you get charged for how much power you are sipping in? Is it free? It may be now, but it unlikely to remain that way. A more important question is how efficient is this? How much energy is given to the vehicle and how much reaches the car and what fraction of it is actually getting converted to motion?
      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        This wll clearly be a municpial service, and thus paid for by the public coffer. Eg, paid for by taxes, on a bulk use model.

        In other words, based on use history over several years, and combined with census data to track changes of use over time, the civic planners can estimate power use on a yearly granularity, and amortize. Some months will draw less power, others more. They base the yearly tax burden on the averaged load per year, adjusted for projected trends in use.

        Tradgedy of the commons by abusing th

      • Maybe they'll just kill two birds with one stone, and introduce road charging, either using an eTag, or a vignette+camera (like Austria).

        It'll come in, because they have to pay for the juice.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @08:00PM (#44492705) Journal

      ... it wouldn't take a high school education to understand how to sap power from the road for free for powering your cell phone, laptop, or for the real inventive some parts of your house

      A horsepower is 3/4 kW. Braking down from 50 MPH turns enough energy into heat to heat a snowbound house with only moderate insulation, in the dead of temperate-zone winter, for half an hour.

      Running your laptop or charging your cellphone, like the incandescent lights in cars, is a very tiny drop in a very large lake.

      Running about ten households on it is comparable to running an extra car continuously. (Cruising at highway speed takes high teens of HP - it's getting up to speed in a reasonable time that requires those big engines.) But it would also require enough of a pickup to constitute a traffic hazard, which would bring you to the attention of authorities.

      Those buried conductors are what make repaving an intersection in US a bit more expensive than say the straight road

      Note that they are talking about powering patches of the road (5% to 15%), not the whole thing. The car stores the power for the stretches between the patches. Such patches can be on straight sections where vehicles don't do things that cause extra wear. Also: A few dead patches don't kill the road - they just mean the car pulls a little more out of the battery before the road brings it back to full charge.

      As another poster mentioned: Repaving a road with a concrete slab base only tweaks the top inch or two. The slabs can last a half-century or more. If the coils, cores, and local wiring can be embedded in or below the slab, with a couple inches of extra gap between the top of the core and the surface of the road, it can last a very long time.

      With the "hot" sections of reasonable size and modular, I imagine a dead one could be replaced, slab and all, in an overnight or over-weekend operation, scheduled for when the road is not too busy and lane closures or detours are available.

      • With the "hot" sections of reasonable size and modular, I imagine a dead one could be replaced, slab and all, in an overnight or over-weekend operation, scheduled for when the road is not too busy and lane closures or detours are available.

        You obviously don't live in Illinois. Something like that would take at least a year and a half. Of course, you may only see people working on the road for a day or two during that time, but they'll close the road for a year+ easy.

    • Okay so is it just me or is anyone else thinking that it wouldn't take a high school education to understand how to sap power from the road for free

      And anyone with a college education should be able to design the system to prevent this. An obvious solution is to only energize the wires under the car, and then only if a valid credit card number is provided. The charging wire is intermittent, and only available for 10-15% of the road, so it may be possible to allow or disallow power to individual vehicles. There is a better technical description here [nanowerk.com], but still not enough to know exactly how it works. This is a research prototype so they might not be

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Okay so is it just me or is anyone else thinking that it wouldn't take a high school education to understand how to sap power from the road for free for powering your cell phone, laptop, or for the real inventive some parts of your house. Maybe that's just the cynic in me talking.

      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to bypass the electric meter [orlandosentinel.com] on your house either. Some people do it, some maange to escape getting caught for quite some time. Some get caught when the house burns down (typically because they whole reason they bypassed the meter was so they could run thousands of watts of grow lights in their basement and the kind of amateur electricians that bypass electric meters don't usually follow electrical codes when they wire in their power hungry equipment).

    • The article is pretty flimsy with the tech details, but if it is anything like magnetic induced current, the car need to be in motion to recharge (ie, traveling across the magnetic field). Unless you plan to be running along the road to charge your laptop, I'd say it's pretty inconvenient to recharge your devices that way.
      • " Unless you plan to be running along the road to charge your laptop, I'd say it's pretty inconvenient to recharge your devices that way."

        Nothing like a good early morning jog to charge up mind, body, and MacBook . On the other hand, kinetic motion charging should be more efficient.

        As for stealing amperes, how noticeable is the difference between a car charging just itself and a car charging itself and a small electronic device?

        capcha: overrode

      • by amaurea (2900163)

        No, it does not depend on relative motion [wikipedia.org]. I don't think charging your laptop based on this is going to be a problem, though. Your electric car will have a power outlet for devices like hands free and laptops anyway, so you won't have to invent anything to use this system to charge your laptop - just plug it into your car, and let the car charge the laptop for you. The extra power draw will be equivalent to simply having a slightly bigger car.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Or you could use a better product than asphalt. The Romans built roads 2000 years ago and they're still around. Asphalt is used because it's cheap but it has some major issues with it. It wouldn't surprise me that in the 100 years of laying and re-laying asphalt, we could've done it all in concrete or some other product a long time ago and never have to look again. Typical "next-quarter profit" management.

  • Copenhagen's city center was shut for a few hours today [washingtonpost.com] because of one of them fancy road-powered electric vehicles being treated as a potential bomb. This one seems to have been built in a garage by a Swedish mad scientist, though.

    • by sjames (1099)

      At least he wasn't in the U.S. where they would have blown his car up and arrested him. His likelihood of being cleared on terrorism charges would be directly proportional to the strength of his promise not to seek damages.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @12:00AM (#44494021)
    The moment when you can finally steal the bumper cars from the amusement park and drive them home.
  • I mentions nothing in the article but what does that do to those of us with steel in our bodies? I for one cannot get an MRI due to it. Or is the field just too weak?

    • by guruevi (827432)

      MRI = 0.5-3 Tesla - strong enough to pick up and pull large metal objects.
      These types of wiring even if they were running 150A and the metal was in your feet: 0.0006T
      The earth has a magnetic field of ~0.5T

  • Road powered electric vehicles are awesome, I'm glad to see someone doing it, but I'm a little worried about safety and efficiency with the inductive charging technology. I certainly wouldn't want to be right on top of a 20khz rf transmitter that's pumping out tens of kilowatts. I don't remember the permissible exposure limits off the top of my head, but this sounds like it would be way above what's considered acceptable for HAM radio. Is there some way to keep that RF energy from spilling all over the

  • The description is confusing, but the picture is clear - it's a split-transformer system. It's not clear whether it's a continuous one for vehicles in motion or one that just recharges a bus at bus stops. Berkeley, California had one of those in the 1980s, built as a CALTRANS R&D project [berkeley.edu]. That system had energy transfer efficiency of about 65%. They tried 400Hz (which induced annoying hum in metal objects) and 8500Hz (which didn't.) "Pedestrians who walk across the powered roadway inductor are expos

  • Those cables carry a pretty high voltage and current, and presumably have to be near the surface for the EM field to be effective, and the road pavement tend to wear pretty fast. The cables may have a good insulation, but that might be eroded by vehicles if the pavement is broken in some points. So I hope they considered the risks for people walking on the street; anyway, innovative solutions to pollution problems are always welcome.
    • by nukenerd (172703)

      So I hope they considered the risks for people walking on the street; anyway, innovative solutions to pollution problems are always welcome.

      Don't worry, I expect pedestrians, cyclists, and even conventional cars will be banned from these roads. If they keep improving this system they will eventually re-invent railways.

  • I'm not well versed in EM science at all (I know if I plug electronics into the magic holes in the wall, they work, and that's about it). But I do know that some EM fields can interfere with pacemakers. And I'm assuming they don't have to be that strong as some household power tools are enough to blip the things. Are the fields discussed in the article strong enough to be a problem for people with heart-regulating implants?

  • is to put the car on a rail somehow, and let the road control the throttle, and the driver programs the road about where he wants to go. Then he gets in the back seat and goes to sleep until the car arrives. Makes for a really low-stress commute.

  • Almost sounds like something called a Metro (or subway)

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