Electric buses operated by the Antelope Valley Transit Authority will soon be topping up with power simply by stopping over an electromagnetic coil at the local transit center in Lancaster, Calif.
Two 50-kilowatt coils, costing $350,000 apiece, have been installed and are being tested. Once they go into regular operation at the end of this month, they'll add about five miles of charge in 10 minutes, more than enough to keep the buses topped up as they go out on their routes and return periodically to the transit center.
"That five to 10 minutes of charge over and over will give them the range to go even their longest routes," says Zachary Kahn, director of government affairs, North America, for BYD Heavy Industries, the Chinese company that builds Antelope Valley Transit Authority's electric buses.
But the authority's not stopping there. It also bought 11 coils at 250 kWs apiece, good for 25 miles additional range in 10 minutes. The package includes vehicle adapters from Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification Inc. of Salt Lake City.
While auto manufacturers are just getting into wireless charging, other industries are already there. Aside from buses, wireless charging also can work for delivery trucks and service vehicles such as forklifts that operate over fixed routes where they can top up with power frequently.