European Electric Bus Makers Will Work Toward Open Charging Interface

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

A number of prominent bus manufacturers in Europe — Volvo, Solaris, Irizar, and VDL — have agreed to work towards the achievement of interoperability of their electric buses with a common charging infrastructure, according to a new press release.

A common charging infrastructure in this case refers to that provided by ABB, Siemens, and Heliox, etc. The idea here is that interoperability of charging infrastructure will ease some of the problems accompanying the adoption of electric buses, and thereby speed up the rate of adoption.

Bus logos

The new agreement is an entirely voluntary one, not in any way binding.

The press release provides more:

The public transport community is preparing for electric buses in Europe and standardization activities have started via the European body (CEN-CENELEC) and via the international organization for standardization (ISO/IEC). European standards are expected to come in place 2019 and international standards in 2020.

However, many cities are implementing electric bus systems already now. In order to meet the needs of these cities, European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have together with charging system suppliers ABB, Heliox and Siemens agreed to an open, transparent and voluntary approach. Common, preferred interfaces will be opened-up for all market participants and will be used for electric buses with so called opportunity charging (fast charging at end stops) and for overnight charged electric buses. The group is committed to contribute to European standardization activities and to share experiences with CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC in order to establish a common European standard for electric bus systems.

…For opportunity charging, the system includes automatic contacting by a pantograph, wireless communication, contacting plates, and infrastructure equipment that automatically contact vehicles with a pantograph. For overnight charged electric buses, the fast charging standard for cars (CCS) will be used as a base for the plug and for the communication.

The agreement is open to other participants, and any companies (manufacturers, charging infrastructure suppliers, etc) interested are reportedly invited to join.

Reprinted with permission.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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11 thoughts on “European Electric Bus Makers Will Work Toward Open Charging Interface

  • Where are Heulliez?

    Charging standards for buses are a pretty minor concern compared to those for cars. Urban bus operators buy standardised fleets, not mixed ones. A common standard would be useful for long-distance coached, and make the market a little more competitive. The big payoff could be later on, with electric trucks.

  • Just an aside. I recently read a driving experience review for the Tesla X.

    The reviewer talked about how having the battery weight mounted low, between the wheels, allowed one to sit high over the road without the normal body roll experienced in most SUVs.

    I can see that advantage for EBs. Also getting rid of the heavy engine in the rear and moving most of the weight between the front and rear wheels should reduce/eliminate see-sawing.

    • Interestingly enough quite a few EBs have their batteries on the roof.
      I don’t think rolling over is a big issue since buses rarely drive around corners with squeaking tires.

      • It’s not about rolling over. It’s about a smoother ride. Especially if you’re standing, a lot of rock and rollin’ can make the journey unpleasant.

        • Ah now I see what you mean, had to look up body roll, I misinterpreted that.
          But not sure how much of an issue that is, never really noticed this as unpleasant in a bus. The vibration and noise on the other hand…

        • Interesting. I don’t know which electric buses have placed the battery under the floor (where it belongs) and which ones have placed it above the roof. I suppose you could actually put batteries in BOTH locations if you wanted a LOT of batteries.

      • Buses try to be low-floor for making entry/exit for passengers easy and convenient, without special need in bus-stop infrastructure in the form of ramps/ledges.
        Your run of the mill low floor city bus has moved the engine into the back for that reason, to get the space between the floor and the road as ‘thin’ as possible.
        I can see that low energy density batteries can be a problem there.

        On the other hand, bus roll overs usually shear off or deform the top part of a bus so badly, that the passengers have a hard time to survive or not being badly harmed when it happens.. so getting the weight into the floor at the lowest point possible is something to strive for.

  • Reading about European bus makers made me remember ebusco, a dutch electric bus company (Munich bought 2 of their buses). Apparently they already have a new version 2.1 of their model.

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