One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires. When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus. Michael Masquelier is CEO of Wave, the company that makes the wireless system in Long Beach . "We automatically detect that the vehicle’s there, automatically start the charge," he says. "So it’s completely hands-free and automated." Wireless charging systems use what’s known as inductive charging to produce electricity across a magnetic field. Wireless phone chargers and even some electric toothbrushes work in the same way. Masquelier says wireless charging is not only convenient. It may ultimately make switching to electric buses more cost effective. "By doing in-route charging on the order of five minutes every lap we can roughly double the range of the vehicle," he says. "So they don’t have to go back to the depot to charge, and they […]

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