Fast-charging buses provide non-stop service

Wed, 2015-10-21 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Electric buses will barely have to stop, thanks to a new charging system from ABB. The system, which can charge a bus in just a matter of minutes, brings the electric buses closer than ever to the flexibility of diesel-powered coaches.

ABB, a Council Associate Partner, combines rapid-charging technology and robotics to fully charge electric buses in just a matter of minutes. The company says it will allow those buses to run their inner-city routes all day without having to return to a central base.

Full charge in a flash
The automated system uses robotics to deliver a full charge in as little as 4-6 minutes. When a bus pulls into a charging stop it makes a wireless connection to the charger. The system makes safety checks and lowers a special inverted pantograph to the charging port on the bus. The pantograph is already in common use for trains and trams.

Luxembourg is going to be the first to use ABB’s new system. It's planning to install the special chargers on its existing bus lines where a half-dozen Volvo electric hybrid buses will make use of them by next year.

Chargers will be installed at various points along the route -- terminals, depots and end points -- giving the bus a charge when it would have been at a stop anyway.

Designed for easy adoption
As Luxembourg is demonstrating, the system is designed to be deployed easily. While it’s being installed first on Volvo buses, ABB’s system is based on IEC 61851-23, the international standard for fast charging electric vehicles.

The charging receiver that fits on the bus weighs barely 20 pounds and supports 150 kW, 300 kW or 450 kW of power. ABB says the low weight and flexibility will give bus manufacturers new options to improve efficiency and lower costs, which will make it even easier for cities to use the technology to reduce emissions.

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