back to article Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for BUSES

From July, two electric buses will travel back and forth along the 24km road from Gumi station, but they won't need to recharge as induction loops along the route will top up the battery as they roll. The technology is coming from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and is little more than an extensive field …

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Happy

Bring it on

With small induction loops, I am sure we could all charge our mobile phones and iThingies for free, well at least until we got run over by a tram.

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Yay

Scalectrix cars :)

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@James Micallef

I was thinking more like dodgems

DOUBLE YAY!

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Can't Wait

I'll feel like I'm in death race or something, driving over things in the ground to get power-ups.

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Anonymous Coward

"scalextric" / "dodgems"

No, no, no.

It's not like either of those things, it's wireless.

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Anonymous Coward

don't listen too hard to the engine

Tie Fighters!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: don't listen too hard to the engine

Exactly! With all that electricity drive a couple of speakers!

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Happy

Cooking on gas^H^H^H leccy?

If this works like an induction hob, passengers could heat up soup, or make a quick stir-fry or fried egg while waiting for the bus.

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Mushroom

Re: Cooking on gas^H^H^H leccy?

I don't care how smart or swanky they make electric hobs, they'll have to prize my gas range from my cold, dead hands.

(c) Charlton Heston. Who is dead. And cold.

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Anonymous Coward

Reality check

The power will have to be paid for by someone. At first there might be incentives but ultimately the only fair way is for people to pay for their own usage.

In order to energise the coils there will probably be some sort of authentication method which will feed into a billing system. This will also help to reduce energy wasted when there are no vehicles on particular sections of road.

A thought: with such technology it would likely be trivial to monitor/record location and speed of applicable vehicles. Let's hope the privacy implications are well thought out (fat chance)?

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Wet blanket time

"...embed charging into the M25 and you could be sure of everyone in London getting a couple of hours charging daily."

Not everyone in London drives around the M25, or even drives a car. Who is going to pay for the massive infrastructure costs and associated installation disruption costs; and how will the cost be recovered?

What is the running energy efficiency of this system compared to parked charging of electric vehicles and what is the energy cost of the installation?

I'm a cynical and miserable old git and I ask awkward questions, but they must be asked and answered. I have a feeling that the answers will not be satisfactory.

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Meh

Re: Wet blanket time

It might be a way to make the bastards actually use the money from the "road fund license" for, y'know, roads.

Instead of pissing it away on MP's expenses like they do now.

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Unhappy

Re: Wet blanket time

Don't worry it won't take long before some pseudo sciency study claims induction loops cause cancer or something and then all the NIMBY's and "Think of the children brigade" will refuse to have it installed./ See also MMR, Power/phonelines, wind mills etc

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Re: Wet blanket time

I would think that most people who live in London don't go any way near the M25 because it is after all a road for people who don't live in London. I would have thought that this would be a much better solution to replace overhead electrics on the rail network - no more disruption due to cables falling\being nicked and the exact path of the train and therefore the most efficient transfer point is a known, unlike for drivers, most of whom find it impossible to drive any distance in a straight line.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wet blanket time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Excise_Duty

"This excise duty was ring-fenced for road construction and was paid directly into a special Road Fund from 1920 until 1937 after which it was treated as general taxation"

It's not been used to fund the roads since 1937.

There are cars which output very low CO2 that pay nothing to get their tax disc, should they be banned from the roads for paying nothing?

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AC @ 10:05 -Re: Wet blanket time

Wrote :- "There are cars which output very low CO2 that pay nothing to get their tax disc, should they be banned from the roads for paying nothing?"

Yes

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Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

Unfortunately, this won't work in the UK. Firstly, the cost would be simply horrific. Secondly, electric cars are only commercially viable against fossil fuel cars (on a cost per mile not including infrastructure basis) because they charge predominantly using off-peak electricity. If they charge as they're being driven, it would be predominantly peak eletricity, which would be something like 3-4 times as expensive (depends on whether you include connection charges etc.). So, whilst it makes electric cars actually work and viable in more circumstances, it actually makes them financially far less viable due to 'fuel' cost.

Sad, but true. The big issue we have in this country (and most countries around the world), is we have plenty of spare electricity overnight (and generating capacity etc.) and we need to time shift it to even the load out. So, some form of storage (whether battery, hydrogen or whatever) is pretty much a requirement.

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Re: Wet blanket time

What about the 'Think of the people with pacemakers' bridgade?

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Re: Wet blanket time

It wouldn't work on UK roads anyway. Our roads are so full of potholes there is no way the infrastructure for this would last five minutes.

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Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

Errm - the article talks about topping up the battery as the buses roll. So those batteries could have been charged overnight while the buses are garaged.

Anyway, what's wrong with wires? Bring back trolleybuses

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Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

"Errm - the article talks about topping up the battery as the buses roll. So those batteries could have been charged overnight while the buses are garaged."

Agreed you can take the first charge overnight, but it must be drawing a considerable amount during peak day to make it worthwhile. If it could last all day on batteries, you wouldn't need any of this. So, the problem still exists. It's drawing a considerable amount of extra power during peak day usage and therefore increasing the differential between high and low usage on the network. This is exactly what they're trying to remove. That's part of the reason for Smart metering. Give everyone time of day tarrifs to persuade them to take electricity during the cheaper (and therefore relatively low usage times) on the network.

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Facepalm

Re: Wet blanket time

"Not everyone in London drives around the M25, or even drives a car. Who is going to pay for the massive infrastructure costs and associated installation disruption costs; and how will the cost be recovered?"

You've heard of jokes, right?

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Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

I like China's solution more. Pantographs at bus stops only. Busses have ultracaps. They'll only go for a few minutes on a charge, but that's enough to get from one stop to the next - and they charge so fast, they can get back up to full capacity in the time the bus is parked there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 10:05 -Wet blanket time

No the only reason for SMART metering is that the companies can increase tariffs while pretending it's for the customers own good. Most people use electricity when they need it or do you suggest that some people should move to being awake in the night and asleep in the day? Perhaps the unemployed and elderly??

There used to be economy 7 so you could do all your clothes washing storage heaters, during the night ... but as most storage heaters are inefficient and most washing machines only capable of doing one load without human intervention it's pretty pointless for the average consumer.

Ironically if people bought charge at home EV's it would make sense to get econ7 and perhaps they'd change their behaviours to make better use of other potential savings ... but I kind of doubt it.

Induction has a number of potential advantages ... battery substations charged overnight could power it ... the cars, lorries and buses would be lighter as they don't need to carry around batteries or fuel, thus making lorries/buses more efficient in terms of carrying capacity and cars potentially smaller, faster and requiring less energy to move ... alternatively you could just use it on long motorways, thus killing most peoples complaints that EV cars are no good for long journeys.

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Anonymous Coward

I foresee a complication

A lot of power will be "lost" as soon as commuters figure out that $50 worth of Litz wire, a few components and a length of cable spliced into the wiring loom can charge up their electric cars.

So what if it is 18% efficient, free power is still free and blows a solar panel completely to hell as far as power to weight ratio.

Possible fixes include a "challenge-response" crypto, heavy fines for anyone caught and/or road mounted EMPs to punish those caught stealing power more than once.

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Re: I foresee a complication

You could enable sections of the road based on a radio identification unit in the bus. Some sort of changing encryption, like the securID tags. Only someone tailgating the bus will get something.

What I'm thinking about is the next time some idiot decides to dig the road up. Some people take care and check for power and pipework before digging, and work round them. Others find cables when their JCB brings them to the surface.

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Boffin

I wonder what happens to the charging...

... when the road is designed for say 80000 vehicles per day and I assume the charging infrastructure would follow that and then 196000 vehicles per day use it?

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How well insulated are steel toecaps?

Or indeed the copper insoles I've seen advertised to "cure" arthritis.

I'd imagine the induction current from something with enough power to charge a bus battery could at least result in a toasty warm glow in your tootsies, even if you don't have lightning shooting from your shoes.

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Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

The material needs to be ferrous AFAIK.

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Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

"The material needs to be ferrous AFAIK."

And what metal do you suppose steel toecaps are made from ?

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Stop

Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

the post said copper insoles. No mention of steel toecaps.

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Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

"he post said copper insoles. No mention of steel toecaps."

Then why was the title " How well insulated are steel toecaps? " ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

"The material needs to be ferrous AFAIK."

It's a long time since I did Physics but my recollection is that non-ferrous metals have electromagnetic properties. If they are a good conductor then eddy currents warm them up nicely. Even if the transfer mechanism depends on resonance for maximum efficiency - then some energy will be absorbed.

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Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

The material needs to be ferrous AFAIK

Really?

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Re: How well insulated are steel toecaps?

The material needs to be ferrous AFAIK

Really?

Yes. He just didn't know far enough.

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Mushroom

Why under?

Just wondering if it's necessary for the infrastructure to be under the road. Would it work in some form alongside the road, replacing the ubiquitous armco, or something like that? Don't really understand the technology, or at what point distance becomes too much of an issue.

Also, I can't help getting the mental image of Captain Shakespeare's vessel in "Stardust," deploying a net to catch the electricity.

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Re: Why under?

The closer the vehicle is to the loop, the more efficient the energy transfer is.

What I want to know is why the electric trolley buses were done away with all those years ago...

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Re: Why under?

According to a bloke I met who was around at the time, it's looking after the wires that's the problem.

He told me about one that "lost it" on ice one winter on a one-way system where half-a dozen routes converged. Above it at the time was a rat's nest of intersecting and crossing cables. Once it had stopped spinning, the whole lot was wound around its trolley pole like a giant, metallic candyfloss.

Apparently North London was damn near paralysed for weeks while they restrung that lot.

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Re: Why under?

Yes, but if the bus has some battery capacity, there's no need for the wires at the junction, so the rat's nest goes away

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why under?

> Yes, but if the bus has some battery capacity, there's no need for the wires at the junction, so the rat's nest goes away

But then you run into issues re-attaching the pantograph while the bus is moving. Current trams and trolley busses connect up while stationary.

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If the wiring is placed close enough to the road surface and generates a bit of heat as part of the charging process, it could also help prevent the snow flake gridlock we always seem to see in the UK.

I appreciate that heat in electricity implies losses, but it's just a thought :)

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Windows

Formula E

Please, please, please have a round in Yorkshire. Formula E By Gum.

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Whoa wait a minute. Didn't the Daleks need these power strips at first!

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Brilliant, I was in China many years ago while they still had the overhead wires powering their buses, I always thought it was a shame they stopped using them..

This technology will hopefully allow countries to get their buses back onto electric, and if we can charge on every motorway, then suddenly electric cars become practical!

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Headmaster

@MrXavia

Wrote :- "I was in China many years ago while they still had the overhead wires powering their buses, I always thought it was a shame they stopped using them.."

I remember them in London (up until ~1965?). Three problems -

(1) Pointwork - most routes were radially in the suburbs so that they did not need to cross other routes. Points were possible - such as for the branch to the depot, where the driver got out and pulled a lever on the post.

(2) Roadworks and other diversions, and even large parked vehicles could bring things to a halt.

(3) The maintenance and ugliness of those overhead wires.

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Re: @MrXavia

Wires + batteries eliminates 1) + 2) and 3) can be dealt with by good design

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Re: @MrXavia

... especially if you replace wires with wireless charging (yes, this can work overhead too).

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FAIL

another pipe dream

Given the number of dire warnings about an ageing UK generation infrastructure - and thew potential for "gray outs" due to a lack of capacity in the UK at peak times.. where is all the power for this going to come from? And how is this *green* power going to be produced in enough quantity to power the additional requirement?

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Re: another pipe dream

"And how is this *green* power going to be produced in enough quantity to power the additional requirement?"

That is indeed a big issue. During the last winter freezes (snow for a week etc.), wind generation was almost zero. Absolutely tiny. The reason is that cold freezes like this are associated with calm conditions over the UK. Do you really want all transport to stop because the windmills aren't turning?

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