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fast charging

Zurich, Switzerland, October 19, 2015 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced today the launch of an automated fast charging system which can remove one of the main barriers to increased urban electric bus adoption – long charging times for short driving ranges.

With its automated rooftop connection and a typical charge time of 4-6 minutes, the system can easily be integrated in existing bus lines by installing fast chargers at end points, terminals, depots and / or intermediate stops. ABB’s fast-charging system is a practical solution built on international standards (e.g. IEC 61851-23), assuring safety, regulatory compliance and wide automotive industry support. These ingredients allow the solution to work safely in any bus line and with any electric bus with the correct rooftop interface.

The first public project using this technology will be the integration of Volvo busses and four ABB automatic e-bus chargers into existing lines of the Luxembourg public transport system, where as many as 6 Volvo Electric Hybrid buses will be running on existing lines by 2016. Volvo’s new electric hybrid bus can reduce fuel consumption by 75 percent compared to conventional diesel buses, which improves sustainability performance as well as lowering operating costs.

ABB’s automated fast-charging solution is based on the ‘pantograph’ – a proven mechanical concept for linking power supplies to trains, trams and buses. When a bus arrives at the charging stop, wireless communication will be established between bus and charger and a special inverted pantograph will come down automatically. When all safety checks are performed, the system will provide the bus with a powerful fast recharge.

The modular design, offering charging power of 150 kW, 300 kW or 450 kW, provides any city bus with enough energy in only a few minutes to run its inner-city route continuously throughout the whole day.

In addition to reliable charging solutions, high frequency urban bus lines also depend on maximum availability and fast service response. ABB offers a suite of proven connectivity features such as remote diagnostics, remote management and over-the-air software upgradeability. With over 3,000 web-connected DC fast chargers installed globally ABB has proven that its suite of connectivity features enable industry leading uptimes and fast service response, anywhere in the world.

The driver of the e-bus pulls up at the bus stop. A flexible plug immediately extends from the charging station, clicks into the charging socket installed on the bus and after a signal has been issued, starts charging. The amount of energy that can be transferred during the short stop is sufficient to recharge the starter battery. Thanks to this new connector for fast charge systems, the Swiss connector specialist Multi-Contact is paving the way for battery-powered buses to further develop into environmentally friendly inner city transportation.

Charging occurs automatically at regular intervals along the route, without affecting vehicle operation. Alternatively, this can be carried out during longer stops at the bus terminus. Due to these repeated charging cycles, a smaller battery is sufficient, positively impacting on the weight of the vehicle and on operating costs. As these e-buses have the possibility to refuel within a short period at the bus stops with charging currents of up to 900 A, for the first time they present a serious alternative to track-guided trolley buses and vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Thanks to the vehicle’s patented mechanical guide, the system can compensate for different loads, irregularities in the road surface and inaccuracies when parking the bus. The funnel-shaped design of the charging socket tolerates positioning inaccuracies of up to 500 mm. Depending on customer requirements, the coaxial plug can be equipped with up to 9 pins (2–3 power contacts, 1 ground contact, 5 signal contacts). Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY September 2015

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