ABB has won the contract to provide fast chargers that will support the 8 fully electric Volvo buses being brought to the city of Harrogate in northern England.
ABB will supply 3 HVC 300P modular charging stations that will be seamlessly integrated into existing bus routes to provide opportunity charging to the 8 buses being used. In just a short 3–6 minute stop, the chargers will supply enough power for the fully electric buses to complete the route. Beyond just the current need, the chargers are modular and can be upgraded to support 150 kW, 300 kW, 450 kW, or even 600 kW charging.
The chargers comply with the international IEC 61851-23 fast charging standard for electric vehicles, which, along with the modular design, ensures that the chargers can adapt to different models of buses and faster charging speeds in the future.
The Harrogate contract is the first electric bus project in the UK that will make use of the OppCharge standard that lays the foundation for leveraging high-speed opportunity charging along fixed bus routes to top off the charge at the beginning and end of routes. Leveraging opportunity charging allows operators to cut the size of the battery in buses, which saves weight and capital while also improving operating efficiency.
Looking beyond the innovative chargers, the electric bus implementation in Harrogate will be operated by Transdev Blazefield, an international provider of public transit with thousands of buses operating in cities around the world. With this broad reach, what is clearly a small installation in a quiet town in northern England has the potential to catalyze the transition of a massive fleet of vehicles to electric if it proves successful.
The buses use only 80% of the energy of their diesel counterparts and come with all the benefits of electric vehicles — quiet, zero emissions at the point of use, lower maintenance, lower operating costs, etc. The positive impact to cities of converting from noisy, PM-emitting diesel buses to electric buses in city centers is hard to understate — these dirty buses operate in the most dense areas of cities by design. While it may not hit the bottom line for cities or transit operators (yet), removing a massive source of emissions from these city centers will have a noticeable positive impact on air quality for residents.