Induction Charging Comes to Public Transit

Induction Charging Comes to Public Transit

Say goodbye to catenary wires. Utah State University has unveiled an electric bus that charges through induction, topping off its batteries whenever it stops to pick up passengers.

The same principle that charges your toothbrush wirelessly keeps this bus running. Photo: Utah State University

The same principle that charges your toothbrush wirelessly keeps this bus running. Photo: Utah State University

Designed by USU’s Wireless Power Transfer team and the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative’s Advanced Transportation Institute, the prototype Aggie Bus is already on the road. It uses the same wireless charging principle as an electric toothbrush or a wireless smartphone charger, except optimized for a massive public-transit vehicle.

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.

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