A new trend beginning to emerge in the electric vehicle market is wireless charging. Recently named by the World Economic Forum as a promising technology for 2013, it is mostly in small style deployments scattered around the world. One of the more recent ones to come to light is being pushed Bombardier, a regional German transit operator and the national German government.
Known as the Primove Mannheim project, plans call for electric buses which will recharge wirelessly while passengers get on and off the buses at bus stops along an inner city route in Mannheim, Germany. During the initial assessment of one year two electric buses, built by Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie HESS AG and equipped with a Bombardier electric drivetrain, will make the runs, while at the same time an electric van equipped with the same technology will be tested as a service vehicle.
The Bombardier Primove technology, like others out there, is based on inductive energy transfer. It is installed entirely under the road surface and under the floor of the vehicles. The charging process begins as soon as the vehicle completely covers the charging segment. It is very similar, in fact, to an electric bus trial going on at Utah State University.
The German undertaking will help to determine, according to Bombardier, “a framework for infrastructure, batteries, inductive energy transfer and daily operation by testing the new technology on a real-life route. The project partners aim to prove that a technology transfer towards e-mobility is viable. They will also gain insights into further improving low-emission public transport systems by focusing on the operating efficiency of daily transport services.”
Bombardier has already been test piloting this technology in more limited trials, both in buses and also electric trams, in the German cities of Augsburg and Braunschweig as well as the Belgium city of Lommel. In addition, according to the CBC in Canada, plans are underway for cold weather testing in Montreal.
Costs of the Mannheim project are being funded initially from the German national government to the tune of 3.3 million euros, or over $4.3 million US. Rainer Bomba, secretary of state in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Building and Urban Development, noted of this research that the goal is to turn his country into a “leading e-mobility supplier and market. The Ministry of Transport’s wide-ranging approach to R&D supports the introduction into the market of innovative drive systems and new concepts for all modes of transport. It is particularly important to harness the benefits of e-mobility in public transport, where new technologies are tested in an integrated system of vehicles, transport infrastructure and maintenance sites. Our research and pilot projects are setting in motion today the solutions of tomorrow.”