Online Electric Vehicles A 2013 Promising Technology

Electric vehicles continue to make inroads into American psyche and, indeed, across the global landscape. Media continues to be on the EV’s battery and namely its “failings” such as short range and long recharge time. While news agencies and the public wait on manufacturers to develop the “Next Big Thing” (i.e., batteries with a 200, 300, or 400 mile range), other groups are looking at the other end of the equation and figuring out ways to shorten the recharge time of batteries.

Wireless EV charging, or online electric vehicles (OLEV), may be that quick-charging technology. Using electromagnetic induction, OLEVs, coupled with more efficient vehicle batteries, may help EVs leap into mainstream use. How? In layman’s terms, OLEVs recharge their batteries without plugging into an outlet or charging station via a physical cable. Instead, special plates underneath the vehicle and its batteries use magnetism to literally “collect” electricity from power strips or cables buried underground.

kaist olev trains / trams


The World Economic Forum has found it and OLEVs so effective that it recently selected the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) OLEV among the world’s ten most promising technologies for 2013. The KAIST OLEV trams pictured, for examples, recharge their batteries through electric cables buried up to seven inches under the road.

According to KAIST, its OLEVs use batteries only a fifth the size used in electric cars, and have a power transmission rate of around 80 percent. These KAIST OLEVs began ferrying passengers back in 2011 at the Seoul Amusement Park. Other, similar vehicles and technologies located around the world include the Opbrid Bůsbaar recharging system in Germany and the Aggie bus and Foothill Transit Econliner in the U.S.

KAIST also has car and bus OLEVs. Other promising technologies deemed by the WEF include 3-D printing, remoting sensing and organic electronics.


  • Reply February 24, 2013

    Alex Lester

    Great idea I could see it for the trams at Disney who stop at identified locations.

  • Reply May 18, 2013


    I can actually see how OLEVS might make a big scene in the US. As you know, if there isn’t a profit to be made, it wont happen. But you could actually find profit in the charging system underground. Via toll access roads, paid parking lots and paid parking spots where the charging system is layed out under the road or parking area, and you have to pay a toll to use it.

    I have a feeling we’ll actually be seeing this technology blossom in the future. I never felt this way about electric vehicles as there wasnt really a profit to be made in the recharge process. Nobody is going to sit at a recharging station for hours while their car is charging. However, if you can access recharging roads, recharging spots at the mall, or your favorite resteraunts, people will do it.

    Especially in parking lots, it could be used like a parking meter. You pay for 30 minutes of charging while you go into your resteraunt and eat… And there wouldnt be anything to plug in when you get home. Simply pull the car into the garage or driveway, and your car is charging.


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