In July 2011, Utah State University’s Research Foundation demonstrated 90 percent electrical transfer efficiency of five kilowatts over an air gap of 10 inches and thus, validated that electric vehicles can be charged with wireless technology. In another landmark demonstration, USU recently applied those findings by carrying passengers in an electric bus—The Aggie Bus— that is charged through wireless charging technology.
USU’s Wireless Power Transfer team, which worked with the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative’s Advanced Transportation Institute at USU, has mixed modern advances in engineering and Nikola Tesla’s principles of induction to make these discoveries. Specifically, USU engineer Hunter Wu and his team have developed a robust prototype which transfers power over an air gap where no physical contact is required.
“The unveiling of the Aggie Bus today is a historic achievement and a great leap forward in the science and engineering related to electric vehicles,” said Robert T. Behunin, Ph.D., USU vice president of commercialization and regional development, in a press release. “As a result of the work done by Utah State engineers, scientists and partners, EV owners and operators will now be able to simply drive over a pad in the ground to recharge their batteries, the benefits of which reach far beyond convenience.”
In a press release, the university shares:
Wireless power transfer technology delivers a multitude of benefits to consumers that include greater reliability due to no moving parts or cords, added convenience through the elimination of plug-in charging, the assurance of safety by removing the risk of electrocution and aesthetically pleasing devices as a result of no visible wiring.
USU’s Aggie Bus has achieved several significant milestones. It is the first bus developed and designed by a North American organization that is charged with wireless power transfer technology and is the world’s first electric bus with WPT technology combining the three following performance metrics: A power level up to 25 kilowatts, greater than 90 percent efficiency from the power grid to the battery and a maximum misalignment of up to six inches.