Published On: Tue, Jun 11th, 2013

ABB develops world’s first technology to power flash charging electric bus in 15s

At the 60th congress of the International Association of Public Transport (UTIP) in Geneva, Switzerland, the ABB group announced a new technology that will help power the world’s first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system.

ABB develops world's first technology to power flash charging electric bus in 15s

ABB develops world's first technology to power flash charging electric bus in 15s

ABB is currently working with Geneva’s public transport company TGP, the Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies (OPI) and the Geneva power utility SIG on the Trolleybus Optimization Système Alimentation (TOSA) electric bus system pilot project.

The new boost charging technology will be deployed for the first time on a large capacity electric bus, carrying as many as 135 passengers. According to ABB, the bus will be charged directly at selected stops with a 15-second energy boost while the passengers enter and leave the bus, based on a new type of automatic flash-charging mechanism.

The system uses a laser-controlled moving arm, which connects to an overhead receptacle for charging at bus shelters, instead of the usual trolley poles to overhead lines. ABB says the elimination of overhead lines provides greater route flexibility while improving the urban environment and landscape. The quick charging time will not interfere with the bus schedule.

“Through flash charging, we are able to pilot a new generation of electric buses for urban mass transport that no longer relies on overhead lines,” said Claes Rytoft, ABB’s acting Chief Technology Officer. “This project will pave the way for switching to more flexible, cost-effective, public transport infrastructure while reducing pollution and noise.”

The flash-charging technology and the onboard traction equipment used in this project were developed by ABB and optimized for high-frequency bus routes in key urban areas, carrying large numbers of passengers at peak times. Onboard batteries can be charged in 15 seconds with a 400 kilowatt boost at selected stops.

At the end of the bus line a 3-4 minute boost enables the full recharge of the batteries. Thanks to an 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.

TOSA is a zero-carbon-emission solution as the electricity used comes entirely from clean hydro power, notes ABB. The pilot project runs between Geneva airport and the city’s international exhibition center, Palexpo.