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1, MARCH 2015

Advances in Wireless Power Transfer Systems

for Roadway-Powered Electric Vehicles
Su Y. Choi, Student Member, IEEE, Beom W. Gu, Student Member, IEEE,
Seog Y. Jeong, Student Member, IEEE, and Chun T. Rim, Senior Member, IEEE

Abstract Roadway-powered electric vehicles (RPEVs) are recharged after operating for a short range due to the low
attractive candidates for future transportation because they do energy density of batteries. The currently available quick
not rely on large and heavy batteries but directly and efficiently charging time of 20 min [101][103] is still too long for drivers
get power while moving along a road. The inductive power
transfer systems (IPTSs) that have been widely used for the accustomed to rapid fueling and deteriorates battery lifetime
wireless powering of RPEVs are reviewed in this paper. The severely, requiring quite expensive and large-size charging
development history of the IPTS is tracked from the origin facilities. Promising battery technologies of extremely quick
of the RPEV in the 1890s to the recent RPEV. Throughout charging, i.e., <5 min have been reported [104]; however, they
its 100-year history, the size, weight, efficiency, air gap, lateral make the quick charging problems worse; nevertheless, they
tolerance, electromagnetic force, and cost of the IPTS have been
substantially improved, and now RPEVs are becoming more will become technically stabilized and economically available.
widely commercialized. Important milestones of the developments Other challenges in developing EV components, such as
of the IPTS and RPEVs are summarized in this paper, focusing light and robust motors, efficient and compact inverters, and
on recent developments of on-line electric vehicles that were first miscellaneous power train units, are relatively trivial and no
commercialized in 2013. longer technical problems but economic ones.
Index Terms Electric vehicle (EV), inductive power transfer Unfortunately, EVs, such as PEVs and BREVs, heavily
system (IPTS), on-line electric vehicle (OLEV), roadway-powered rely on a large battery; therefore, innovations in the bat-
electric vehicle (RPEV), wireless power transfer system (WPTS). tery are crucial for the commercialization of these vehicles.
I. I NTRODUCTION Relatively, HEVs, PHEVs, and RPEVs do not require the
battery innovations for commercialization; in other words, they
A S conventional modes of transportation that heavily rely
on internal combustion engines face worldwide grow-
ing pressure to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, such
can be readily available in markets using currently affordable
EV batteries. Thus, HEVs are becoming more popular in
as CO2 , and to mitigate air pollutions in urban areas, electric worldwide markets among all EVs, even though the role of the
vehicles (EVs) are becoming more attractive than ever, though battery is quite limited to short-term energy recovery. When
the petroleum era has been extended due to the economic the power supply rails for transmitting power to RPEV are
exploitation of shale gas. Therefore, automobile manufactur- fully deployed under the road, RPEVs do not require battery
ers have been developing various EVs such as pure battery energy storage for their traction because they directly get
EV (PEV) [1][4], hybrid EV (HEV) [5][8], plug-in hybrid required power from a road while they are moving on it.
EV (PHEV) [9][11], battery replace EV (BREV) [12][15], Hence, RPEVs are most free from the battery-related problems
and roadway powered EV (RPEV) [16][99]. Probably, the among EVs and quite promising candidates for future trans-
biggest challenge to the commercialization of the EV is the portation of small cars, passenger cars, taxies, buses, trams,
battery, which is still heavy, bulky, and expensive even though trucks, trailers, and trains, even in competition with internal
it has been commercialized for EVs more than 130 years combustion engines. Despite the fact that RPEVs are free from
ago [100]. Moreover, it is made of scarce materials, such as battery problems, RPEVs have not been widely used so far.
lithium, buried in a few countries only and may be explosive in The biggest challenge of the RPEV in commercialization is to
car accidents. The charging of battery is another obstacle in the transfer high power from the road in an efficient, economic,
commercialization of EVs because they should be frequently and safe way. The power transfer can either be wired or
wireless. Traditionally, the former was preferred because there
Manuscript received January 29, 2014; revised April 10, 2014, June 17, were no appropriate means for wireless power transfer. Even
2014, and July 9, 2014; accepted July 24, 2014. Date of publication August 5, though wired electric buses [16][18] are no longer widely
2014; date of current version January 29, 2015. This work was supported by
the National Research Foundation of Korea through the Ministry of Science, used in urban areas now, it is not amazing that still the highest
ICT and Future Planning, Korean Government, under Grant 2010-0029179. speed train is powered through pantographs [19], [20], which
Recommended for publication by Associate Editor G. A. Covic. are a sort of wired power transfer device. Because of the wear-
The authors are with the Department of Nuclear and Quantum
Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon ing of pantographs and maintenance problems, wired power
305-755, Korea (e-mail:;; transfer is gradually replaced with wireless one as hundreds; of kilowatts of power become available. Thus, various wireless
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available
online at power transfer systems (WPTSs) [21][99] have been widely
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JESTPE.2014.2343674 developed for RPEVs. Therefore, it is worthwhile to focus on
2168-6777 2014 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See for more information.

the wireless RPEVs and exclude the wired ones from further monitors the health of the IPTSs and RPEVs and provides
discussions. accounting service and communication links.
In this paper, a full history of the WPTSs for RPEVs is
described from its advent developments in 1890s to cutting- B. Fundamental Principles of the IPTS
edge technologies now. Important technical issues in the
developments of inductive power transfer systems (IPTSs), the Now, the fundamental principles of IPTSs, instead of all
majority of WPTSs, are addressed, and major milestones of WPTSs, for RPEVs will be briefly explained. The IPTSs are
the developments of RPEVs are summarized, focusing on the governed by Amperes law and Faradays law among four
developments of on-line electric vehicles (OLEVs) that have Maxwell equations, as shown in Fig. 2(a). It can be briefly
been recently commercialized. explained as follows:
1) time-varying magnetic flux is generated from the ac cur-
rent of a power supply rail in accordance with Amperes
2) voltage is induced from the pick-up coil, coupled with
A. Overall Configuration of the WPTS the power supply rail, in accordance with Faradays law;
The WPTS for RPEV should be capable of delivering high 3) power is wirelessly delivered through magnetic
power efficiently through a moderate air gap for avoiding coupling, where capacitor banks are used to nullify
collisions between the RPEVs and road. The WPTS are inductive reactance.
composed of two subsystems: 1) one is the roadway sub- The governing equations of IPTS for sinusoidal mag-
system for providing power, which includes a rectifier, netic field, voltage, and current are approximated as
high-frequency (HF) inverter, primary capacitor bank, and follows:
power supply rail and 2) another is the on-board subsystem
H = J (Amperes law) (1a)
for receiving power, which includes a pick-up coil, secondary
capacitor bank, rectifier, and regulator for battery, as shown in E = j B (Faradays law). (1b)
Fig. 1(a). The roadway subsystem should be so robust and In order to provide moderately HF ac current to the power
cheap that it may withstand severe road environments for supply rail, a HF switching inverter is introduced, and a
a long time and should be economic to install over a long rectifier is attached to the pick-up coil side to obtain a dc volt-
distance, whereas the on-board subsystem should be compact age for providing power to an on-board battery of RPEV, as
in size and light in weight so that it may be adopted into shown in Figs. 1(a) and 2(b). Meanwhile, the electromagnetic
the RPEV. force (EMF) for pedestrians should be under the constraints
WPTSs, in general, can be classified into IPTSs [21][99]: such as ICNIRP guidelines [111], [112]. This is why passive
1) coupled magnetic resonance systems (CMRSs) [105][107] and active EMF cancelation techniques have been so
and 2) capacitive power transfer systems (CPTSs) [110]. developed [113][125].
These three systems were regarded as quite different from It is quite often misunderstood that the purpose of resonating
one another, however, CMRS are found to be just a special LC circuits in the IPTS, as shown in Fig. 2(b), is to amplify
form of IPTS whose quality factor Q is extremely high, and power or energy by Q factor. Actually, resonance is not
resonating repeaters extend power delivering distance [107]. mandatory if the required power delivery is small so that
Moreover, it is no longer true that CMRS are appropriate for the voltage drop of leakage inductances of coils may not be
a long-distance power delivery, whereas IPTS are adequate large due to small current [86][88]. Moreover, the switching
for a short-distance high-power delivery because, recently, a frequency of the inverter f s for IPTS is not necessarily exactly
new world record of 5-m off long-distance power delivery tuned to the resonant frequency of LC circuits fr . Very often,
has been demonstrated using IPTS without a very high Q f s is intentionally increased a little bit higher than fr to
factor [108], [109]. Considering the difficulties in maintaining guarantee the zero voltage switching of inverters [60], [61].
resonance for multiple resonant repeaters with very high Q Depending on the source and load types, the compensating
factor and the bulky configuration of pick-ups, conventional capacitors can be connected in series or parallel with the
CMRSs are not quite appropriate candidates for RPEV, in source or loads. Fig. 2(b) shows a seriesseries compensa-
general. In addition, CPTS is not appropriate for RPEVs tion example, which is adequate for high-power application
because it needs a huge area of conductor to transfer several of IPTS, whose output characteristic is an ideal voltage
kilowatt power with an air gap of 20 cm, which may be bigger source [60], [61].
than the bottom space of a vehicle. Therefore, IPTSs will be
dealt with in detail in the subsequent sections, though CMRSs
and CPTSs are not completely excluded from review of C. Basic Requirements of the IPTS
papers. As shown in Fig. 3, the IPTSs for RPEVs are differenti-
The RPEV mission system, as shown in Fig. 1(b), includes ated from conventional IPTSs for stationary charging because
not only the WPTS system, but also the control system and additional requirements such as larger lateral tolerance, higher
EV system. The control system is unique and crucial for air gap, and lower construction cost should be considered for
RPEVs because it senses and identifies the EV and then dynamic charging. Moreover, the IPTSs for RPEVs should
appropriately turns ON and OFF the inverters. Moreover, it survive from harsh road conditions, such as extremely high and



Fig. 1. Overall configurations of RPEV and IPTS. (a) Configuration of a WPTS for RPEV [86]. (b) Mission system of RPEV.

low temperatures, high humidity, and repetitive mechanical vibrating RPEV operating conditions, where strict technical
shocks, for at least 10 years. Basically, the high-voltage power and legislative regulations for vehicles should be met.
rail under a road should be electrically and mechanically
protected well, but electricity under the conditions of a wet
D. Design Issues of the IPTS
and fragile structure is not compatible with a road, in general.
Therefore, it is quite challenging to build the roadway sub- The design goals of the IPTS are summarized as follows:
system robustly. On the other hand, the on-board subsystem 1) to increase magnetic coupling as much as possible so
should also survive the harsh road conditions as well as that higher induced voltage can be obtained;

Fig. 3. Example of desired requirements of the IPTSs for RPEVs [73].

study because the design of IPTSs for RPEVs is not a direct

extension of that of stationary chargers. The design goals of the
IPTSs of RPEVs include low infracost, high power, continuity
of power delivery, and low fluctuation during in-motion, which
are not so important for stationary chargers.
2) High Power and Large Current: In addition to the high
operating frequency of RPEVs, high power of hundreds of
kilowatts with large current of hundreds of amperes [60], [61]
makes it difficult to handle cables, converters, and devices.
For example, a Litz wire of 300-A rating with 20-kV
Fig. 2. Fundamental principle and an equivalent circuit of IPTS for RPEV. insulation capability is not commercially mass produced.
(a) Governing equations of the IPTS [73]. (b) Example of equivalent circuit
of IPTS.
Capacitors and IGBTs, which have high voltage and large cur-
rent ratings with an operating frequency higher than 20 kHz,
become scarce. Furthermore, all the inverters, rectifiers, coils,
2) to increase power efficiency for given power capacity, capacitors, and cables used in the IPTS of RPEV are operated
device ratings, and cost; outdoors, where debris and salty and wet material may damage
3) to make modules as compact as possible to accommo- them.
date for given space and weight;
3) Power Efficiency: In order to make RPEVs competi-
4) not to increase or cancel out EMF;
tive against internal combustion engine vehicles, the power
5) to manage resonance frequency variation and coupling
efficiency or energy efficiency should not be too low. The
factor change due to misalignment of pick-up position,
bottom line of the overall power efficiency, which is defined
air-gap change, and even temperature change.
from the ac power source to the dc output power for battery,
In order to meet the design goals, several important design would be 50% [61], considering grid loss and fuel cost.
issues of the IPTSs, which are unique for RPEVs, should be Fortunately, modern IPTSs have fairly good power efficiency
resolved as follows. larger than 80% [60], [61]. More importantly, power loss rather
1) Switching Frequency: The switching frequency of the than power efficiency is a serious problem in designing the
inverter and rectifier of an RPEV governs overall perfor- inverter and pick-up due to over temperature.
mances. As the switching frequency f s increases, the coil
4) Coil Design: In order to focus magnetic field from
and capacitor size decreases for the same required power, but
the power supply rail to the pick-up and mitigate leakage
the switching loss and core loss as well as the conduction
flux so that large induced voltage as well as low EMF
loss of wires due to the skin effect increase. In the case of
level can be achieved, a novel coil design is crucial for
the switching frequency lower than 20 kHz, acoustic noise
the IPTS. This design is unique for the roadway subsys-
may be a problem [61]. As shown in Fig. 2(b), another unique
tem in that the cost per kilometer is critical; therefore, the
feature of RPEVs concerning frequency is the increased
roadway power supply rail should be low enough not to
voltage stress in a distributed power supply rail Vl1 for higher
deteriorate the economic feasibility of overall RPEV solution,
switching frequency, which is proportional to the frequency
whereas the pick-up should be neither heavy nor thick so
and line current Is as follows:
that it can be successfully implemented on the bottom of
Vl1 = j s L l1 Is (2a) the RPEV.
Vl1 L l1 5) Insulation: In order to guarantee stable operation of
= j s Is . (2b)
x x IPTS, a few kilovolt level insulations of the roadway
Because of these restriction, the switching frequency tends to subsystem and on-board subsystem should be provided.
be no less than 20 kHz but not far beyond 50 kHz. For the The insulation of a roadway power supply is of great impor-
OLEVs, the frequency was finally selected as 20 kHz after tance because high voltage is induced along through the
examining for 20, 25, and 30 kHz. distributed power rail over a road rather than over a point
The interoperability of an IPTS between RPEVs and sta- and is increased by the back EMF of the pick-up coil abruptly
tionary wireless EVs is an important issue that needs further displaced on the power supply rail. The insulation of the pick-

up coil is also an important issue when high-power output is

sought because the large output current of the pick-up coil
induces high voltage, which could be as much as 10 kV if not
appropriately mitigated.
6) Segmentation of Power Supply Rail: RPEVs typically
require many IPTS along a road because a power supply
rail cannot be infinitely deployed. It should be segmented so
that each segment can be independently turned ON and OFF.
The length of a power supply rail is an important design
issue because it would be too expensive if the length is very
short due to an increased number of inverters and switch
boxes, whereas the power loss would be too large if the
length is very long due to increased resistance. Besides these
issues, the amount of cable use, EMF level, and car length
should be considered when determining the segmentation
7) Roadway Construction: In order to minimize traffic
obstruction, the roadway construction time of the IPTS should
be as short as possible. Moreover, there are numerous difficul-
ties in roadway work because of debris and dirt. Keeping all
of the electric components of the IPTS clean during roadway
construction for a few days or weeks is a serious problem
in practice. There should be a smart way to overcome these
8) Resonant Frequency Variation: The resonant frequencies
of the roadway subsystem and on-board subsystem are sig-
nificantly varied as the magnetic coupling between a power Fig. 4. First patent of an RPEV in 1894 [21]. (a) Side view of the electric
train. (b) Cross-sectional view cut on the line 33 of (a).
supply rail and pick-up changes due to air-gap change, lateral
misalignment, and longitudinal movement. Moreover, the fre-
quency changes are different from time to time for different B. First Development of RPEVs
cars and different numbers of cars on a power supply rail.
There should be either the smart coil design and inverter design During the oil crisis of the 1970s, interest in RPEVs
to cope with these frequency changes or in situ frequency increased in the USA, where several research teams started
tuning capability. to investigate RPEVs for reducing the use of petroleum in
9) Control of Dynamic Resonating Circuits: The resonant highway vehicles [21][44]. The first development of RPEVs
circuits, as shown in Fig. 2(b), have finite dynamic response was begun in 1976 by the Lawrence Berkeley National
times and may arise high voltage and current peaks that can Laboratory in order to confirm the technical feasibility of
destroy electric devices. They should be moderately controlled RPEVs [24], [25], [27]. A prototype IPTS, as shown in
so that the voltage and current level can be mitigated, where Fig. 5, was built and tested for 8-kW wireless power transfer;
the frequency response of ac circuits can be managed with however, it was not a fully operational system [37]. In 1979,
the recently developed Laplace phasor transformation [126]. the Santa Barbara Electric Bus Project was started and another
A resonating LC circuit has a first-order response in the prototype RPEV was also developed [30][35].
dynamic phasor domain [127]; hence, high-order IPTS with After the two frontier projects of RPEV, the partners for
more than two resonating circuits can be managed with the advanced transit and highways (PATH) program began in
general phasor transforms [52], [56], [60], [126], [127]. 1992 to determine the technical viability of RPEV in the
University of California, Berkeley [42], [43]. Throughout the
PATH program, broad research and field tests on RPEV,
III. E ARLY H ISTORY OF RPEV as shown in Fig. 6, including designs of IPTS, installations
of an IPTS to a bus, road constructions of power supply
A. Origin of the RPEV: The Concept of Transformer
rails, and environmental impact studies, were performed. The
System for Electric Railways
PATH team achieved an efficiency of 60% at an output
The concept of RPEV getting required power from a power power of 60 kW with a 7.6-cm air gap. The PATH pro-
supply rail while its driving came from the first patent [21], gram, however, had not been successfully commercialized due
as shown in Fig. 4. to high-power rail construction cost of 1 M$/km, heavy
In the patent, they have claimed several design issues of coils, and acoustic noises, as well as relatively low power
IPTSs on the deployment of power supply rails, high-power efficiency and large primary current of thousands amperes
transfer to pick-up coils, and reduction of conduction and eddy owing to a low operating frequency of 400 Hz. Furthermore,
current losses, which are still important design issues. the small air gap does not meet road safety regulations and

Fig. 7. Development concepts of the OLEV bus developed by KAIST [73].

Fig. 5. First RPEV developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

in 1976 [25].

Fig. 6. First operational prototype RPEV developed by the PATH team in Fig. 8. Deployment status of OLEV in Korea [73].
the 1990s [43]. (a) Appearance of the developed RPEV bus. (b) Prototype
coils of the IPTS.
As shown in Fig. 9, the first-generation (1G) concept-
demonstration-car of OLEV, the second-generation (2G)
lateral displacement of <10 cm is not acceptable for practical OLEV buses, and the third-generation (3G) OLEV pas-
use [43]. Despite the limitations for practical applications, senger car were developed and extensively tested at the
the PATH teams work was well documented [42], [43] and test sites of KAIST since 2009, and three OLEV trains
stimulated subsequent research and development on modern (3+ G) had been successfully deployed at the Seoul Grand
RPEVs. Park, Korea since 2010. Two upgraded OLEV buses (3+ G)
were deployed at the 2012 Yeosu EXPO, Korea, and other
IV. D EVELOPMENTS OF OLEV S two OLEV buses (3+ G) have been in full operation at the
main campus of KAIST since 2012 [73]. Recently, two OLEV
A stream of modern RPEVs is the OLEV, which has solved buses (3+ G) were firstly commercialized at a 48-km route in
most of the remaining problems of the PATH teams work, Gumi, Korea, as shown in Fig. 8.
as shown in Fig. 7. The OLEV project has been undertaken The fourth-generation (4G) OLEV, showing more prac-
since 2009 by a research team led by KAIST, Korea [45][78]. tical performances, such as a very narrow rail width of
Innovative coil designs and roadway construction techniques 10 cm, larger lateral displacement of 40 cm, lower EMF
as well as all of the systems operating at a reasonably level, and lower power rail construction cost compared with
HF of 20 kHz made it possible to achieve the highest power the previous generation OLEV, has also been developed.
efficiency of 83% at an output power of 60 kW with a large air Now, the development of the fifth-generation (5G) OLEV is
gap of 20 cm and a fairly good lateral tolerance of 24 cm [61]. in progress, where an ultraslim S-type power supply coil of
Moreover, the power rail construction cost of the OLEV, which 4-cm rail width is proposed for power rail construction with
is responsible for >80% of the total deployment cost for much less cost and time [76].
RPEVs [45], has been dramatically reduced to at least a third
of that of the PATH project. The primary current has been
also reasonably mitigated as low as 200 A, and the battery A. First-Generation OLEV
size has been significantly reduced to 20 kWh, which can be The 1G OLEV, which was announced on 27 February 2009,
further reduced by increasing the length of the power supply is a golf cart equipped with a mechanically controlled pick
rails. up to automatically align to the power supply rail of 45 m

Fig. 9. Summary on the developments of OLEV, including their IPTS [73].

within a 3-mm lateral displacement, as shown in Fig. 10. mechanical moving parts, and finally achieved a 17-cm air
The 1G OLEV adopted E-type cores for both the power gap, which meets road regulations, 12 cm in Korea and 16 cm
supply rail and pick-up coil, as shown in Fig. 9, and achieved in Japan. At the same time, it achieved a maximum efficiency
an overall system efficiency of 80% at 20-kHz switching of 72% and a maximum output power of 60 kW using 10 pick
frequency with an output power of 3 kW at 1-cm air gap [73]. ups. The power supply rail, where the width is 1.4 m and the
It successfully demonstrated the wireless power delivery to total length is 240 m, is paved with asphalt to provide the
an EV and became the basis of confidence in succeeding same friction force as normal roads, as shown in Fig. 11 [50].
developments. In order to realize the 17-cm air gap, the U-type power supply
rail and flat pick-up coil of IPTS have been newly developed,
B. Second-Generation OLEV where the name U-type stems from the cross section of the
The 2G OLEV, announced on 14 July 2009, focused on power supply rail, as shown in Fig. 12. A pair of return power
drastically improving the air gap of the 1G OLEV without cables is used to mitigate the EMF from the power supply rail

Fig. 14. 3G+ OLEV train on the 2.2-km road at the Seoul Grand Park,
Fig. 10. 1G golf cart platform of OLEV [73]. where 375 m was paved with 24-m power supply rails [73].

Fig. 11. 2G OLEV bus at the KAIST Munji Campus with four test tracks Fig. 15. Views of the W-type power supply rail and flat pick-up coil [73].
of power supply rails (60 m each) [73]. (a) Cross-sectional view. (b) Birds eye view of a bone structure.

The upward magnetic flux generated from the pick-up coil

was appropriately shielded by an aluminum plate with a 5-cm

C. Third-Generation OLEV
The 3G OLEV sports utility vehicle, announced on
Fig. 12. Cross section of the U-type power supply rail and I-type pick-up 14 August 2009, as shown in Fig. 9, newly adopted the
coil [73]. (a) Small air-gap condition. (b) Large air-gap condition.
W-type power supply rail and flat pick-up with overlapped
double coils for higher power and increased lateral tolerance.
Thus, the upward magnetic leakage flux from the pick-up
of 2G OLEV had been drastically mitigated using the flat
pick-up core, which prohibits the magnetic flux between
the power supply rail and pick-up from leaking. A mag-
netic field shield, such as an aluminum plate, or additional
space are no longer required. The overall efficiency and air
gap of the 3G OLEV were 71% and 17 cm, respectively,
which were respectable, but slightly disappointing numbers;
therefore, overall systems, including a roadway rectifier and
Fig. 13. Magnetic flux characteristics of the 2G IPTS [73]. (a) Along the inverter, power supply rail, pick-up, and on-board regulator
air gap. (b) Along the lateral displacement.
were redesigned to achieve a maximum efficiency of 83%
with a 20-cm air gap, and this new design was called the
for the ICNIRP guidelines [111], [112]. With the U-type power 3G+ OLEV. Four 3G+ OLEV buses, as shown in Fig. 9,
supply rail and I-type pick-up coil, it is found that an effective were built for test purposes, and six more 3G+ OLEV buses
area of the magnetic path between the power supply rail and were built for full operation purposes, whereas three 3G+
pick-up coil increases as the air gap increases due to fringe OLEV train were deployed at the Seoul Grand Park, as shown
effect, as shown in Figs. 12 and 13. in Fig. 14.
The lateral displacement, at which the output power drops to The W-type power supply rail, as shown in Fig. 15, has
a half of the maximum output power and the induced voltage many cores of W shape, where the total magnetic resistance
or magnetic flux density becomes 70.7% of their maximum, becomes three-quarters smaller than that of the 2G OLEV
was achieved to be 23 cm, as shown in Fig. 13(b). The cross for the same air gap, and this eventually leads to the increase of
section of the core plates of the power rail, as shown in Fig. 12, the output power from 6 to 15 kW for each pick-up. Moreover,
is significantly reduced using the high operating frequency the width of the power supply rail is decreased to 70 cm, which
of 20 kHz, which is 50 times of the PATH team [43]. The is just a half of that of the 2G OLEV, and it can reduce the
reason for selecting 20 kHz is that it is the lowest inaudible deployment cost of OLEV for commercialization. The EMF
frequency, which mitigates the line voltage stress, as in (2). at 1.75-m distance meets the ICNIRP guideline because the

Fig. 18. 4G OLEV bus at KAIST Munji Campus [73].

Fig. 16. Simulated magnetic flux characteristics for different bone core-gap
X D [73].

Fig. 19. I-type power supply rail and double flat pick-up coil [61]. (a) Front
view. (b) Side view.

Fig. 17. W-type power supply rail of the 3G OLEV [73]. (a) Under road
construction. (b) Cross-sectional view [74]. (c) Being tested. Fig. 20. I-type power supply module of the 4G OLEV [73]. (a) Prototype
module. (b) Deployed modules at the 24-m test site.

two power cables of opposite polarity of magnetic flux cancel

affected by weather and debris, and this delay obstructs the
each other out [73].
commercialization of OLEV.
One of the problems found during the development of
2G OLEV was the inherently weak structure of the power
supply rail, where the core separates the concrete into two D. Fourth-Generation OLEV
and undergoes severe mechanical stress from heavy vehi- As shown in Fig. 18, the 4G OLEV bus, announced
cles. As a remedy for this mechanical weakness, bone in 2010, has an innovative I-type structure of a power supply
structure cores of the power supply rail, as shown in rail with a maximum output power of 27 kW for a dou-
Fig. 15(b), have been proposed and registered as a patent [63], ble pick-up coil having a 20-cm air gap and 24-cm lateral
where the bone structure cores are installed with the bone displacement [60], [61]. As shown in Fig. 19(a), the I-type
core-gap X D . Despite the large gap between cores, the power supply rail, where the name I-type stems from its
magnetic flux does not decrease considerably, as shown front shape, has only 10-cm width, which leads to a deploy-
in Fig. 16. ment cost reduction of 20% compared with the 3G OLEV.
In addition, during power rail road construction, concretes Unlike previous generations of OLEV, a very low EMF for
can percolate down through the bone structure cores. There- pedestrians, as low as 1.5 T at a distance of 1 m from the
fore, the power supply rail, which is reinforced with two center of the power supply rail, can be obtained [61] because
iron bars and in which power cables are protected by fiber the power supply rail has alternating magnetic poles along the
reinforced plastic pipes, has almost the same endurance of road, as shown in Fig. 19(b). As shown in Fig. 20, the 4G
concrete, as shown in Fig. 17. In practice, roadway con- OLEV adopted a module concept for the I-type power supply
struction of the power supply rail takes a few weeks, being rail to reduce the deployment time within a few hours, which

Fig. 22. ISEC method for primary and secondary sides, fetching its
cancelation current from each main coil [78].

A. Generalized Active EMF Cancelation Methods

In the IPTS of OLEV, the total EMF, which is the
summation of EMF generated by the power supply rail and the
pick-up coil, should be lower than the ICNIRP guideline for
the safety of pedestrians. Among EMF cancelation methods,
passive methods rely on the use of ferromagnetic materials,
conductive materials, and selective surfaces for protecting
Fig. 21. Proposed ultraslim S-type power rail and the flat pick-up coil of against radio frequency interference [113][125], which is
the IPTS [76]. (a) Birds eye view. (b) Side view. (c) Front view.
found to be adequate for OLEV. An active EMF cancelation
design was applied to the RPEV of PATH team [43], where
had been one of the drawbacks of the 3G OLEV. The I-type a canceling coil mitigates the EMF without RPEV. Another
power supply module, which includes the power supply rail active EMF cancelation design was made for the pick-up coil
and capacitor banks inside, as shown in Fig. 20(a), should be of the OLEV [125], where counter current is appropriately
robust to high humidity and external mechanical impacts at controlled. However, the EMF is generated from both the
least for 10 years in accordance with the system requirements power supply rail and pick-up coil of the IPTS, as shown
of Fig. 3. in Fig. 22; therefore, they must be canceled together without
accurate sensing of EMF and complicated control circuits,
which should be avoided for practical use.
E. Fifth-Generation OLEV A generalized active EMF design principle, which can be
extended to any IPTS, has been developed [78], where there
To further reduce the construction cost and increase the
are three design methods: 1) independent self-EMF cancela-
robustness of power supply rails, the 5G OLEV of ultraslim
S-type core was recently proposed, which has an S-shape when tion (ISEC); 2) 3-dB dominant EMF cancelation (3-DEC);
and 3) leakage-free EMF cancelation (LFEC). By adding an
viewed from the front, as shown in Fig. 21(c) [76]. The S-type
active EMF cancelation coil to each power supply rail and
power supply module has a width of only 4 cm, which has
been decreased from the I-type width of 10 cm; hence, the pick-up coil without EMF sensing and control circuits, the
EMF generated from each main coil can be independently
S-type model leads to less construction cost and deployment
canceled by their corresponding cancelation coils, as shown
time. Moreover, the S-type model makes it easier to fold itself,
in Fig. 22.
which means connecting power cables is no longer necessary
Because the current of each cancelation coil is fetched from
after being deployed. The impact of deploying the S-type
power supply modules on the surface of roads is now minimal, its corresponding main coil, the magnetic flux of a cancelation
coil is in the phase of that of a main coil; hence, the EMF
which fortunately does not change existing road operation
Bt becomes independent of both phase and load conditions as

Bt = (Bm1 + Bc1 ) + (Bm2 + Bc2 ) =0


Bc1 = Bm1 , Bc2 = Bm2 and
A few practical technical issues, such as EMF cancelations Bk Bkx x0 + Bky y0 + Bkz z0 . (3)
and segmentations, as well as some economic issues, such
as component costs and regional economic analyses, are Together with ISEC, the 3-DEC method is quite useful in
addressed here. Fundamental operating principles on OLEV, practice for designing the IPTS because it makes it possible
including steady state operations, [47], [48], [60], [61], and to completely isolate the primary and secondary cancelation
dynamic characteristics [56], [62], [75], [126], [127] of the designs from each other. For the full resonant IPTS, that is,
IPTS, are not dealt with here due to the page limit. very common in practice [60], [61], the primary and secondary

Fig. 25. Application of the LFEC design to a pick-up set [78]. (a) Applied.
(b) Not applied.

Fig. 23. Active EMF cancelation design example for the I-type IPTS [78].
(a) Birds eye view. (b) Front view.

Fig. 26. Segmentation of power supply rails for RPEV [74]. (a) Centralized
switching. (b) Distributed switching. (c) X-segmented switching.
Fig. 24. Bad design case for cancelation coils, which are strongly coupled
with main magnetic linkage [78].
that the magnetic linkage does not intersect them, as shown
in Fig. 25. It was verified that the LFEC method can improve
currents are in quadrature, i.e., B1x B2x , B1y B2y , B1z B2z . the load voltage by as much as 21% [78].
Then, the total magnetic field Bt can be constrained to the
ICNIRP guidelines so far as a dominating magnetic field B1 B. Cross-Segmented Power Rails
is <3 dB below the guideline as follows [78]: Unlike conventional EV, the RPEV need their own road-
 ways, where power supply rails should be activated when
B t |Bt | = |B1 |2 + |B2 |2
  RPEVs are on the roadway, but they should be deactivated
= B12 + B22 B12 + B12 = 2B1 Bref not to waste electric power and generate unwanted EMF for
B1 |B1 |, B 2 |B2 |, B2 B1 . (4) pedestrians; this is why the power supply rail is sometimes
segmented into a few subrails. Each subrail can be activated
A design example for the 4G I-type IPTS based on the ISEC by providing it with HF current through a switch box from
and 3-DEC is shown in Fig. 23, where no cancelation coil was an inverter, as shown in Fig. 26. The first segmented power
used for the power supply rail due to the low EMF generated supply rail developed for OLEV, as shown in Fig. 26(a), was
from itself [60], [61]. the centralized switching type composed of a few subrails, a
In case the EMF cancelation coils are involved in an bundle of supply cables, and a centralized switch box, where
unwanted magnetic linkage, as shown in Fig. 24, the induced an inverter is connected to one of several pairs of supply cables
load voltage drops; therefore, it is highly recommended to through the switch box at a time. One of the demerits of the
design the cancelation coils based on the LFEC method so centralized one is that too many bundles of power cables are


Fig. 28. Experimental set of the X-rail [74]. (a) Overall experimental setup.
(b) Magnetic flux measurement on the rail.

As shown in Fig. 27, the cable cost of the X-rail is nearly

halved compared with the distributed switching and the cable
length reduction effect becomes dominant as the number of
Fig. 27. Comparison of the total length of power cables of the X-rail with segmented subrails increases.
that of the conventional switching rails [74]. A prototype X-rail demonstrated for the I-type subrails that
needed. This is why the distributed switching power rail, as are 2-m long and its magnetic flux density without pick-ups
shown in Fig. 26(b), was proposed, which is composed of are shown in Fig. 28. The activated subrail generates enough
a few subrails, a pair of common power supply cables, and magnetic flux, whereas the EMF is mitigated by the X-rail,
multiple switch boxes located between two subrails. Thus, the which is measured at the center of the power supply rail [74].
total length of the cable could be reduced compared with the
centralized one, especially for a larger number of the cables. C. Brief Economic Analyses on the OLEV
The distributed one, however, requires the common power The component costs of the prototype W-type and I-type
supply cables, which increases the power rail construction roadway subsystems, directly obtained from the real
cost and conductive power loss, as shown in Fig. 17(b). developments [45], are compared with each other as shown
A recently proposed cross-segmented power supply rail in Table I. The total component cost of the developed I-type
(X-rail) [74], consisting of segmented subrails, autocompensa- one is found to be 0.85 M$/km, which is 79% of that of
tion switch boxes, control signal lines, and roadway harnesses, the W-type one. The component costs in mass production,
as shown in Fig. 26(c), has the shortest length of power cable which are of great concern in practical applications, would
among the segmentations developed so far, and the inverter be 25 times less than these component costs at the research
can drive multiple RPEVs, unlike the previous segmentations and development stage, considering cost reduction rate in
that activate only one subrail at a time. general.

Fig. 30. Cost and benefit of the commercialization of OLEV for whole Korea
for 30 years [45]. (a) Investment cost. (b) Overall benefit.

Fig. 31. B/C ratio and NPV for the commercialization of OLEVs in
Korea [45].
Fig. 29. Cost analysis for the deployment of vehicles in Seoul [45]. (a)
Investment cost comparison. (b) Total cost versus number of cars.
The cost and benefit of the commercialization of the OLEV
system throughout Korea is summarized [45], as shown in
The total cost analysis for the regional area of Seoul,
Fig. 30. The cost includes the costs of power rail construc-
the capital of Korea, is performed to compare the economic
tion, research and development investment, maintenance of
feasibility of the OLEV with other existing vehicles, as shown
power rails, inverters, and infrastructures as well as the road
in Fig. 29(a). It is assumed that each vehicle runs 20 000 km
usage fees and the cost of emergency charging stations. It
each year and that the major roads in Seoul, which are
assumes that 30% of the total roads in Korea are paved
about 600 km, are paved with the OLEV-IPTS, which costs
with the OLEV-IPTS. Even though the investment cost for
0.8 M$/km for two-way roads in mass production. The
the OLEV is huge, the benefit for 30 years is more than
required output power of the OLEV is determined as 100 kW
considering not only weight and speed in downtown, but also
As the benefit-cost (B/C) ratio and net present value (NPV)
air resistance and air conditioner consumption of vehicles.
are much higher than 1 and 0, respectively, as shown in Fig. 31,
Furthermore, the capacity of battery of the OLEV and average
the investment cost for the commercialization of OLEV can
energy consumption per distance in downtown are assumed as
be compensated in 2024. As a result, the commercialization
20 kWh and 1 kWh/km, respectively. The life and price of
of OLEV in Korea has high economic feasibility because
the OLEV battery are estimated as 10 years and $440/kWh,
the B/C ratio is 5.8 and the NPV is $79.4 billion USD in
respectively. Parameters of other vehicles, such as PHEV, BEV,
2038 [45].
and internal combustion engine, are conservatively assumed.
As identified from Fig. 29(a), the unit vehicle price and total
infra cost of the OLEV are estimated to be much lower than
any other candidates. The overall costs for deploying the
vehicles, including infrastructure and operation for 10 years A. Auckland University Research Team
are also analyzed, as shown in Fig. 29(b). The PEV is the most Since the 1990s, a research team in Auckland University,
expensive solution regardless of the vehicle number, whereas New Zealand, known as the Auckland team, has been propos-
the OLEV is the cheapest solution for any vehicle number. ing various IPTSs for wireless charging [79][89]. Among
The OLEV is as much as 244 times cheaper than any other them, the circular coils that adopted ferrite bars instead of
vehicles, which is because of the relatively low vehicle price ferrite plates need to be addressed because of their com-
and operation cost as well as the economic OLEV-IPTS. pact structure, low weight, and low EMF [79], as shown in

Fig. 34. Coil structures created by the Auckland team [81]. (a) Circular coil.
(b) Single-sided polarized coil. (c) Single-sided polarized coil adding a coil.
(d) Single-sided polarized coil overlapping each other.

Fig. 35. Output power by the Auckland team. (a) Circular coil. (b) Single-
sided polarized coil. (c) Single-sided polarized coil adding a coil. (d) Single-
sided polarized coil of Fig. 34(c) or (d) [83].

better lateral and longitudinal tolerances compared with the

Fig. 32. Expanded view of a circular-type coil using ferrite bars by the circular coil was obtained. In addition, the modified single-
Auckland team [79]. sided polarized coils, where another coil is added between the
single-sided coils, as shown in Fig. 34(c), or coils overlap each
other, as shown in Fig. 34(d), had improved performances, as
shown in Fig. 35.
In detail, Fig. 35 shows the uncompensated power transfer
when a circular-type coil is used as the primary coil with
the various secondary coils such as a circular-type coil,
double-sided coil, and single-sided polarized coil. As shown
in Fig. 35(a), a circular-type coil is used as the secondary side
and the maximum power transfer is obtained when they are
centered but the power transfer band is very narrow to any
misalignment. On the other hand, Fig. 35(b) uses a single-
sided polarized coil as the secondary side, which can only
capture horizontal flux at its center. The point here is that
intrinsically vertical nonpolarized circular topologies cannot
transfer power to the single-sided polarized coil (horizontally
Fig. 33. Double-sided coils used by the Auckland team [80].
flux-sensitive topologies) when they are centered on each
other, and these need to be offset from each other to capture
Fig. 32. The circular-type coils, however, are inadequate for flux; moreover, this power transfer is suboptimal (lower and
high-power RPEVs because of their low-power transfer has two narrow bands) but also means that a vehicle must be
capability and small lateral tolerance. In principle, the lateral misaligned from the primary coil to transfer power. Fig. 35(d)
tolerance can be increased with a larger diameter of the shows an example when the secondary uses a multicoil single-
circular coils, but it is not applicable in practice due to the sided magnetic topology [as in Fig. 34(c) or (d)], which
limited space of the bottom of a car and increased EMF for includes two independent coils, which are sensitive to both
pedestrians. the horizontal and vertical flux components. This secondary
In 2010, the double-sided coils that consist of a rectangular allows high power transfers to be achieved when centered on
core plate and a vertically wounded cable were proposed, as the primary coil. Moreover, it shows wide lateral tolerance and
shown in Fig. 33, which have high lateral tolerance and a better coupling despite misalignments.
high coupling factor [80]. The magnetic resistance between The Auckland team proposed an IPTS, including many
the primary and secondary coils could be greatly reduced by small power pads for RPEV, where the length of a power
the proposed core structure. As mentioned in Section IV-B of pad is much shorter than that of a vehicle to avoid unwanted
the 2G OLEV, the shape of the proposed double-sided coil is energizing and loading [89], as shown in Fig. 36. This
very similar with the mentioned I-type pick-up coil except the scheme, however, requires numerous considerations such as
tip of the double-sided coil. increased control complexity and deployment in addition to
After that, single-sided polarized coils comprising horizon- the maintenance costs of the power pads in ground, which
tally wound cables on core plates, as shown in Fig. 34, were should survive from the harsh road environments, as addressed
introduced [81][84]. A larger coupling coefficient as well as in Fig. 3.

Fig. 36. Configuration of an IPTS using many small power pads by the
Auckland team [89].

Fig. 39. (a) Charging station for PRIMOV bus at Brunswick. (b) PRIMOVE
bus at Mannheim bus depot [97].

Fig. 37. Commercialization and development projects for RPEV by the

Bombardier team [96].

Fig. 40. Golf car platform of RPEV [99]. (a) Power supply coils and pick-up
coils. (b) Experimental setup.
Fig. 38. Bombardier PRIMOVE tram [96].

Considering large-sized vehicles, such as trams, it would

B. Bombardier Research Team be wise to use the three-phase power system for an IPTS
Bombardier has developed several IPTS systems because higher power can be transferred to pick-up coils than
[90][97] for the stationary and dynamic charging of trams and with a single-phase power system. These merits of high-power
buses since 2010, as shown in Fig. 37. With the PRIMOVE delivery capability and increased power efficiency may offset
project applying IPTS technologies to transportation sectors, the initial investment costs for procuring more complex and
Bombardier used an operating frequency of 20 kHz and a expensive HF inverters and power supply coils. It is not clear,
three-phase power system for their IPTS to obtain a higher in general, that the multiphase power systems for RPEVs [85]
power density without exceeding the EMF guidelines. For are superior to a single-phase power system due to its high cost
stationary and dynamic charging, a power transfer of 250 kW and complexity. There is not much open access information
for PRIMOV trams has been achieved in Augsburg, Germany, about the Bombardier teams works compared with that of the
as shown in Fig. 38. The air gap between primary and previous research teams. PRIMOV buses of a maximum power
secondary coils is 6 cm, and the lateral displacement of of 200 kW have been deployed and operated in Brunswick and
trams is as low as a few centimeter; hence, the design of an Mannheim, Germany and in Bruges, Belgium since 2013, as
IPTS is much easier than that used on ordinary roadways. shown in Fig. 39.

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Beom W. Gu (S13) received the B.S. degree in Chun T. Rim (M90SM11) was born in Korea
mechanical engineering from Pusan National Uni- in 1963. He received the B.S. degree in electri-
versity, Pusan, Korea, in 2013. He is currently work- cal engineering from the Kumoh Institute of Tech-
ing toward the integrated masters Ph.D. degree in nology, Gumi, Korea, in 1985, and the M.S. and
nuclear and quantum engineering with the Korea Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the
Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Dae- Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST),
jeon, Korea. Daejeon, Korea, in 1987 and 1990, respectively.
His current research interests include wireless He was a Military Officer with the Ministry of
power transfer, on-line electric vehicles, and power National Defense, Seoul, Korea, from 1990 to 1995,
converters. a Senior Researcher with the Agency for Defense
Development, Daejeon, from 1995 to 2003, was with
Astrium, Portsmouth, U.K., from 1997 to 1999, and a Senior Director with
Presidential Office, Seoul, from 2003 to 2007. He was involved in developing
the Koreas first airborne and spaceborne synthetic aperture radars. He has
been an Associate Professor of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering since 2007,
and an Adjunct to Aerospace Engineering in power electronics at KAIST.
He is currently developing various wireless power technologies, including an
inductive power transfer system for on-line electrical vehicles and leading
the Nuclear Power Electronics and Robots Laboratory at KAIST. He has
authored and co-authored 118 technical papers and written five books. His
current research interests include wireless electric vehicles, wireless power
systems for robots and biomedical applications, and general unified modeling
of power electronics. He holds more than 117 patents (awarded and pending).
Dr. Rim is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE T RANSACTIONS
Seog Y. Jeong (S13) received the B.S. degree ON P OWER E LECTRONICS and the IEEE J OURNAL OF E MERGING AND
in electrical engineering from Kyungpook National S ELECTED T OPICS IN P OWER E LECTRONICS , a Guest Editor of the Special
University, Daegu, Korea, in 2013. He is currently Issue on Wireless Power Transfer of the IEEE T RANSACTIONS ON P OWER
working toward the masters degree in nuclear and E LECTRONICS and the IEEE J OURNAL OF E MERGING AND S ELECTED
quantum engineering with the Korea Advanced Insti- T OPICS IN P OWER E LECTRONICS , and the General Chair of the 2014 IEEE
tute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea. Vehicular Technology Conference-Workshop on Wireless power (WoW) and
His current research interests include on-line the 2015 IEEE WoW. He has been the Chair of Wireless Power Committee
electric vehicles and wireless power transfers. of the Korean Institute of Power Electronics, since 2010, and the Chair
of the Electronic Vehicle Charger Committee of the Korean Institute of
Electrical Engineers since 2011. He was awarded three prizes by the Korean