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New Aggie Bus uses electricity, costs less

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:11

new electric Aggie bus

PASSENGERS RIDE AN ELECTRIC BUS designed to recharge wirelessly via stations embedded under the pavement. The bus system was developed at USU and will be implemented at the University of Utah. SAMANTHA BEHL photo

On Thursday Nov. 15, USU unveiled the Aggie Bus, a bus that runs entirely on electric power, charges wirelessly using induction, costs less than regular diesel buses and doesn’t release any emissions.


Curt Roberts, who supervised the scientific team that developed the technology, said the innovations of the Aggie bus are a win from every dimension.


“You get the best of all worlds,” Roberts said. “You get zero tailpipe emissions, you spend less money and all of the noise and air pollution issues are completely gone in the environment where the bus operates.”


Roberts, the associate vice president of Commercialization and Regional Development, said USU has a team that focuses exclusively on the technology of wireless power transfer — moving large amounts of electricity from the electrical grid through the air into a vehicle battery.


“USU has one of the leading scientific teams in the entire world in this area of science,” he said. “We’ve achieved performance levels today on this bus that in combination have not been achieved by anyone else anywhere in the world.”


Roberts said the research led by USU in this area has the potential to change transportation internationally. In the not too distant future in large cities and in dense transit routes, especially where large amounts of people use public transit, buses like this will become the norm.


“You’ll no longer have to ride on a noisy, dirty diesel bus,” he said. “Instead it’ll be a quiet, clean electric bus that can run all day and never be plugged in.”


Robert said as a research university, both USU faculty and students have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research that often produces new inventions and technologies. He said the students who have worked on this will have their names on patent applications that permanently record the contribution they made to this technology. For USU faculty, it’s an opportunity to build a national and international reputation for inventiveness, he said.


“We will probably see coverage not just outside of Utah but all over the world because of what we’ve accomplished here,” Roberts said.


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