Mobility House Provides Smart Charging Solutions For St. Louis Electric Bus Fleet

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Electrifying a public transportation bus fleet is easy. Buy electric buses, plug them in, and you’re done, right? Uh, no. First you need to install the charging infrastructure. Then you need to manage it, which involves a lot of moving pieces. It’s all well and good to want to eliminate emissions from stinky diesel engines but your passengers won’t be pleased if the bus they are riding in grinds to a halt after running out of electrons. And minimizing how much the transit authority pays for the electricity needed to recharge its electric buses is an essential part of making the transition from fossil fuels to electricity financially feasible.

New Flyer Xcelsior electric bus
Image credit: Mobility House via YouTube

Mobility House, with offices in Munich, Zurich, and Silicon Valley, has been helping organizations manage their charging needs for more than a decade. The Dutch bus company Connexxion, which operates one of the largest electric bus fleets in Europe, uses the company’s ChargePilot service to manage the more than 10 MW of electricity a day needed to keep its fleet in service. Now Mobility House is teaming with Metro Transit, the public transportation network that serves the greater St. Louis area, to manage charging for one of America’s largest electric bus fleets.

The charging infrastructure need to keep Metro Transit’s electric New Flyer Xcelsior buses operating on schedule includes 20 150 kW and three 450 kW chargers from ABB using a total of 4.35 MW of electricity a day. ChargePilot adjusts the charging performance of each electric bus according to its real time travel schedule while maximizing the time of use tariff structure of  Ameren Missouri, the local utility company to avoid peak demand charges. The ChargePilot charging and energy management system can save more than 30 percent in operational charging costs versus unmanaged charging by reducing peak load and demand charges as well as through time-of-use (TOU) tariff optimization where charging is scheduled during the most cost effective times.

“With over 10 percent of the European bus market intelligently controlled by our technology, we are bringing a wealth of best practices and lessons learned in electric fleet charging management to this landmark project in St. Louis,” says Greg Hintler, managing director of Mobility House U.S. “Our experience at more than 500 commercial installations around the world and with automotive partners ranging from Audi to Tesla, has illustrated why our open standards based approach to smart charging management not only optimizes charging costs but also future-proofs operations. As fleets scale their EV operations, it is interoperable systems that will ensure different chargers interface with other on-site systems regardless of vendor.”

The ChargePilot smart charging and energy management solutions from Mobility House allow system operators to charge electric vehicles in transit depots, commercial office parking lots, or multi-unit dwelling complexes of any size at the lowest electricity rate by intelligently distributing available grid power. That permits fleet operators to benefit from reduced cost of ownership, secure local and cloud based asset management and control, and a scalable modular design that operates with any number of equipment manufacturers and systems.

Buying electric buses is easy. Keeping them in service while paying the least amount for the electricity they use is hard. Mobility House manages more than 500 commercial charging installations in 10 countries and is constantly expanding its client base to promote the electric transportation revolution.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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