Even as countries like the United Kingdom invest more heavily in green bus deployment and companies like BYD develop and sell these more environmentally friendly forms of mass transit, new technology continues to be created to help make them more efficient. One of the latest examples of this was recently announced by power and automation technologies outfit ABB at the 60th congress of the International Association of Public Transport (UTIP) in Geneva.
ABB said it has developed a new technology that will help power the world’s first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system. This system charges electric buses carrying up to 135 passengers at selected stops with a 15-second, 400 kW energy boost while people enter and leave the vehicle, allowing for the removal of overhead power lines which typically power an operation like this.
The system makes use instead of a laser-controlled moving arm, which connects to an overhead receptacle for charging at bus shelters. At the end of a bus line a 3 to 4 minute boost enables the full recharge of the batteries, and ABB notes that “thanks to an innovative electrical drive system, energy from the roof-mounted charging equipment can be stored in compact batteries, along with the vehicle’s braking energy, powering both the bus and its auxiliary services, such as interior lighting.”
Test piloting of this new technology is currently happening in Geneva, in conjunction with the city’s public transport company (TGP), the Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies (OPI) and the Geneva power utility SIG. The project is dubbed TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation), and it is said to be a zero-carbon-emission solution as the electricity used “comes entirely from clean hydro power.”
It is believed by those involved in this pilot that it will “pave the way for switching to more flexible, cost-effective, public transport infrastructure while reducing pollution and noise” and, at the same time, improving the urban environment and landscape due to less visible electrical equipment.