March 03, 2021

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Electric bus is practical now and charging network too

Electric bus

Electric bus is practical now and charging network too 

The bus is the most essential part of the urban transport system and it can save the city from traffic congestions if efficiently utilized. The main drawback of an existing bus is that it’s internal combustion engine is powered by diesel which is a major contributor to emissions. The electrification of bus sector is at a higher rate now. It all started with auto major MAN with its first electric bus in the 1970s. 

The electric bus didn’t gain its momentum due to charging time and charging network. It isn’t efficient compared to the diesel bus and the efforts to update the electric bus was not a priority for any auto major. 

Electric bus

However, the Electrification of the automotive sector has revived the electrification of Bus and trucks which were emission contributors at a large scale. 

Countries like China are focusing more on replacing diesel buses with electric. But in India few young startups are targeting the existing buses by converting them into electric. Due to massive battery packs, charging these buses isn’t easier as charging an electric car.

The FuelCell and hybrids require a charging network which is not established at the moment. Apart from fuel cells and battery swapping, there are other emerging features for a convenient and practical daily charge of the urban bus network. 

These buses need to be charged overnight and their battery pack holds the juice throughout the daytime operations. This is not so efficient in cities where public transport is used at a massive scale and companies are trying to solve this one particular problem of opportunity charging. 

ABB and Ashok Leyland have their solution for this problem by charging the bus very fast at every stop while the people get in and out of the bus at a stop. The company names it as FLASH CHARGE because it is very quick. 

Here’s how the tech works. The pantograph pops up to the charging outlet which is provided at every bus stop as a network in a particular route. The outlet feeds the energy to bus and only a smaller amount of energy is received and the process repeats at every stop while the exchange of passengers is going on. The pantograph gets back into its original position and the bus is ready to go for the next few stops with that little charge time and up to 80% fast-charged battery pack.

This solution is practical and limited only for intercity bus service. This can be implemented in highways if they have overhead electric lines in every part of the world and get rid of the battery pack forever in the bus. 

Related: Electric bus market, growth & progression

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About The Author

Electric vehicle enthusiast constantly in the pursuit of interesting content related to EV innovations, startups, market research and policies. I am a mechanical engineer with cross-functional work experience in EV sector.

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4 Comments

  1. Soubhik Dutta

    Just like the fast charging in the bus stops we can use overhead wires in City roads too. In cities like kolkata there exists a tram which works on overhead wires. we can use a similar infrastructure for charging buses on the go. in that case we can use a low range bus which charges itself whenever it gets a stretch of road with the overhead wires. Such systems already exists in some European and south American countries and china and is called trolley busses.

    Reply

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