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Could Induction Technology Transform Public Transit?

Induction charging, the same technology that allows you to juice up your cell phone without the need for cables, could be coming to a transit system near you. Could eliminating the need for catenary wires transform city streets?
December 4, 2012, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Keith Barry reports on the advance in charging technology unveiled by a team from Utah State University that could transform the appearance of American cities (we hope you're reading this San Francisco). "Designed by USU’s Wireless Power Transfer team and the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative’s Advanced Transportation Institute, the prototype Aggie Bus is already on the road," says Barry. The electric bus charges whenever hovering over a plate embedded in the ground as it stops to pick up passengers, with no physical contact required.

"Because of the fixed routes they run and frequent stops they make, induction charging is ideal for buses," notes Barry. "Instead of charging up a massive battery overnight before a route, the Aggie Bus features a smaller battery setup that recharges every time the bus reaches a predetermined stop. The smaller batteries free up interior space, reduce downtime and lower battery costs — although induction plates must be added to bus stops."

"Charging a bus through induction may be a new idea in the U.S., but bus routes with similar wireless charging systems have been in place in Torino, Italy, since 2003 and Utrecht, the Netherlands, since 2010."

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Published on Monday, December 3, 2012 in Wired
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