Korea and Utah may not invite many comparisons, but they do share one random parallel: public transportation. Both have now invented a type of electric bus that charges itself while on the road. While Korea’s uses Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) technology, Utah’s employs Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE).
That probably sounds a good bit like ancient Greek, but it’s actually pretty simple. The buses run on battery power. Said battery is recharged every time the bus drives over a charge plate, which transfers power into the battery through the air. By recharging wirelessly, these plates can easily be placed in the ground at bus stations, allowing for frequent charges.
Wireless charging isn’t completely new in general, but it hasn’t be tapped for public transportation until now. WAVE’s chief scientist puts it best, saying, “high frequency magnetic fields to jump through an air gap and transfer large amounts of electric power.”
The company hopes to bring WAVE buses to the rest of the United States. While building out the infrastructure wouldn’t be cheap, the buses themselves cost the equivalent of .65/gallon, as opposed to the $3/gallon average for diesel.
By the end of next year, it’s predicted the buses could be in 10 cities, including New York City, Seattle and Moneterey, Calif.
At the moment, the plates are predicted to be placed in bus stations, but there’s absolutely no reason they can’t be placed in streets, highways or (ironically) at gas stations, so buses can charge on the go. In the future, cars could be outfitted with the same batteries. It certainly is nice to imagine a day when the term “gas money” is an anachronism.
Until then, we’ll have a nice fleet of buses that never need to stop running.
Check out the video below to learn more about WAVE.