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Korean Wireless Charging Could Mean Faster Bullet Trains

When trains were getting faster than their coal-driven ancestors, train engineers turned to diesel fuel, and for a while, this was pretty good, especially with the addition of aerodynamic design and suspension design.

Eventually, though, instead of driving the wheels directly, electric motors were installed, which offered much more torque and speed. The diesel engines powered generators to directly power the motors. Instead of carrying a huge, and heavy, diesel engine, generator, and fuel, though, what if they could be eliminated?

The fastest trains in the world do not run on diesel anymore, but pure electricity. The electricity is fed through an overhead cable through a contact arm, the pantograph, and to the electric motors. These latest trains are lighter and more powerful than ever, but their speed is limited by the ability of the pantograph and overhead cable to withstand the passing over 200mph. But what if this limitation was removed as well?

The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the Korea Railroad Research Institute is working on just such a technology that would eliminate the need for physical contact from the power source to the train’s power system.

The On-Line Electric Vehicle [OLEV] prototype technology started out in a bus and a tram, both of which featured wireless charging up to 100kW at 85% efficiency without exceeding international standards for electromagnetic radiation.


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