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ABB Unveils Ultrafast, 15-Second “Flash Charging” Electric Bus

We’ve covered hybrid and electric buses for awhile. They’ve been growing steadily around the world and are becoming quite the cleantech solution to urban transportation needs. But there generally isn’t much “hot” news in this arena. There may be now — ABB has just unveiled a pretty wicked-looking 100% electric bus with “ultrafast charging times.” Here’s a quote from an ABB rep to me: “Using a laser-guided arm, onboard batteries are charged in 15 seconds with a 400-kilowatt boost. At the end of the bus line, a full recharge takes 3 to 4 minutes. No overhead wires are needed. Using a new electrical drive system, energy from the roof-mounted equipment is stored in batteries along with energy produced by the braking system.” And here’s some brief speculation from one of our readers, who also spotted the story and emailed over a note: “I’m betting a hybrid ultracapacitor and battery pack….” I’ve sent some questions to the ABB rep and will update this post when I receive the answers. In the meantime, here’s the full news release from ABB (image added):

TOSA bus

Zurich, May 30, 2013 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group has developed a new technology that will help power the world’s first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system.

ABB announced at the 60th congress of the International Association of Public Transport (UTIP) in Geneva that it is working together with the city’s public transport company (TGP), the Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies (OPI) and the Geneva power utility SIG on the 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. 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 pilot project runs between Geneva airport and the city’s international exhibition center, Palexpo.

“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.”

TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation) is a zero-carbon-emission solution as the electricity used comes entirely from clean hydro power. The charging time is so quick that it does not interfere with the bus schedule and improves the urban environment and landscape as it does not need overhead lines while providing greater route flexibility. 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.

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 to 4 minute boost enables the full recharge of the batteries. 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.

For more information on electric vehicle charging click here.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.

For help with any technical terms in this release, please go to: www.abb.com/glossary

 

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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