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Electric Bus Charges While It Picks Up Passengers

Utah State University's buses charge like an electric toothbrush or cell phone while dropping off and picking up passengers

smithsonian.com

Utah State University’s buses charge like an electric toothbrush or cell phone while dropping off and picking up passengers. The University did away with overhead wires for its prototype Aggie Bus, which is already on the road. Wired reports on how the buses work:

As in all modern inductive-charging setups, a transformer is “split” between the bus and a charge plate under the bus stop. When the bus drives over the charging plate, current flows with no physical contact required. Engineers at USU designed their system so that the Aggie Bus can be misaligned up to 6 inches from the charge plate and still get 25kW of power and 90 percent efficiency from the power grid to the battery.

Buses run on fixed routs and make frequent stops, so outfitting them with induction charging capabilities works well. The university also hopes to bring a commercialized bus to market in mid-2013. This will be a first for the United States, though Italy and the Netherlands have enjoyed induction charged buses for years.

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