The Volvo Group is currently in the process of putting together a study to test the potential of electric city roads — specifically with regard to buses that can be charged while in operation — according to recent announcements.
The car manufacturer is aiming to have a 300- to 500-meter electric road for test operations in Gothenburg completed by 2015. The benefit of such a system is of course that electric city buses could remain in operation while charging — no charging breaks would be necessary.
“Vehicles capable of being charged directly from the road during operation could become the next pioneering step in the development towards reduced environmental impact, and this is fully in line with our vision of becoming the world leader in sustainable transport solutions. Close cooperation between society and industry is needed for such a development to be possible and we look forward to investigating the possibilities together with the City of Gothenburg,” states Niklas Gustavsson, Executive Vice President, Corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs of the Volvo Group.
The electric roads in question work via what’s called inductive charging — whereby electricity is wirelessly transferred to the batteries on the underside of the vehicles by equipment built into the road. Needless to say, using such a system would greatly cut down on the time that buses need to be taken out of service.
The press release provides more:
The Volvo Group will develop a detailed proposal within the framework of innovation procurement from the Swedish Transport Administration. The proposal entails building a road section equipped with wireless charge technology and developing vehicles that will automatically charge their batteries when passing such a road section. The road will be built along a suitable bus line in central Gothenburg and be tested for public transport. Experiences from such a test track will provide valuable knowledge for future political and industrial decisions for establishing electric roads.
For several years, the Volvo Group has been offering hybrid buses with a traditional diesel engine that is supplemented by an electrical engine to reduce CO2 emissions. Three Volvo plug-in-hybrid buses are already in operation in Gothenburg (project Hyper Bus*), which charge their batteries at the end stations of line 60. The next stage of development is for these types of buses to be able to charge their batteries while in operation, thus increasing the distance the buses can run on pure electricity. And this is exactly what will be studied now. In 2015, a new bus line, ElectriCity, will become operational between Chalmers and Lindholmen in Gothenburg.
“We are working on both a broad and a deep basis to develop the technology of tomorrow. Electric roads are another important part of the puzzle in our aim of achieving transport solutions that will minimize the impact on the environment,” says Niklas Gustavsson.
We’ve actually covered the ElectriCity EV bus system project before — detailing what exactly the upcoming launch entails for the city. The project — which is set to launch in 2015 — will include, along with a fleet of brand new Volvo EV buses, “trial runs of new types of bus stops, improved traffic routing systems, and improved energy supply systems.”
These “improved energy supply systems” are of course the electric roads. It’ll be interesting to see how they do.
Image Credit: Volvo
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