U. Of Utah Shuttle System Getting Wireless Electric Bus

Ann McClure's picture
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If batteries did not weigh or cost so much, most drivers might be wheeling electric vehicles by now.

A new Utah State University technology could overcome this barrier to electrically powered transport. How? By transferring power through the air, from charging pads embedded in a road to a vehicle’s undercarriage 10 inches above, minimizing the need for on-board power storage.

This fall a USU start-up company will test the economic viability of such as wireless power transfer, or WPT, in the shuttle bus system at the University of Utah. Fueled with a federal grant, the U. is installing charging pads at bus stops and buying new electric buses to supplement its 28-bus fleet of diesel and compressed natural gas-powered vehicles.

"If it’s viable here, it would be viable on campuses elsewhere. We want to be a national model. It has to be safe and it has to run," said Alma Allred, the U.’s director of commuter services. "We are a research institution. We want to be in the forefront of technology that reduces the need for fossil fuels. We want to reduce emissions."

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