New wave of electric buses developed at USU

An electric bus that utilizes technologies developed by USU researchers to wirelessly charge itself. The researchers hope to use similar technologies to charge electric vehicles while they are in motion.

<span class=”s1″>LOGAN – A battery-powered bus that recharges every time it drives over a charge plate has been developed and tested by researchers at Utah State University.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>The technology is currently being commercialized by Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE), a startup that was spun out at USU.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“Those of us here at WAVE, both on the business development side as well as a significant number of engineers, were originally USU employees, within their division that focuses on wireless charging,” said WAVE Vice President James May, a co-founder of the company.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>May was careful to emphasize WAVE does not manufacture the bus. They create the charging infrastructure.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“We consider the technology we manufacture to be facilitating for electric bus use. If you think of an electric bus driving around with a battery on-board, it has to be an enormous battery in order to get that electric bus through its daily duty cycle. </span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“If you can charge that battery while the vehicle is driving its duty cycle throughout the day, then you can extend the range of that bus significantly. So we don’t build electric buses, we do pride ourselves in enabling the use of electric buses in applications where they otherwise wouldn’t be available.”</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>May said the duty cycles for transit agencies can range upwards of 150 to 200 miles a day.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>He described WAVE’s development of charge plates to power the buses.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“There is a primary charge plate, embedded in the roadway and a secondary charge plant, a mirror image of the primary charge plate, that is attached to the underside of the vehicle. When those two charge plates are aligned, that’s when the wireless communication sends a signal for the primary plate to charge the secondary plate and that is what initiates the wireless charge across the air gap into the bus.”</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Those frequent top-offs allow electric buses to run on lighter, cheaper batteries and with no downtime and no wires needed.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>WAVE is in talks with New York, Seattle and Monterey, CA, and wireless electric buses could be in 10 cities by the end of next year.</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“Some of the talks we have had with cities are quite advanced because those cities have already received grant funding to implement projects such as wireless charging of buses.”</span>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>May said as more electric buses are fitted with wireless charging technology there will be more electric buses in transit agencies all over the country.</span>

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