New bus system tops off batteries in just 15 seconds

Jun 04, 2013 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) —A new type of battery bus system being tested in Switzerland is able to operate continually by making use of flash-charging stations. Called Trolleybus Optimisation Systeme Alimentation (TOSA), the new bus and recharging system is currently being tested on a one mile route in Geneva between the city's airport and international exhibition center.

The system is designed to allow for quickly "topping off" batteries at , with a longer charge of just three to four minutes between bus runs. Buses are equipped with a laser controlled arm that sits atop the bus and automatically guides the contact mechanism to its mate in an overhanging . Passengers get on and off the bus just as they would any other bus.

The system was designed by based electronics giant ABB with assistance from Geneva and other city agencies. The TOSA system flash charges at a rate of 400 kW, allowing batteries to be topped off in just 15 seconds every few stops. Officials describing the system call it a truly zero- system because the electricity to recharge the buses is generated using hydroelectricity. They noted also that such a bus system would be a big improvement over conventional electric buses that get their power from overhead lines and also other battery run buses that must be taken out of service periodically for recharging. They claim also that despite such frequent recharging, the batteries in the buses are expected to last for at least a decade.

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The TOSA system, two years in the making, was designed to be used in areas of heavy , where ridership would be high—the test bus is 19 meters long and can hold 135 passengers. The test run of the system is designed to highlight potential problems with the system to allow for improvements to be made. Once that happens, ABB plans to sell the system to other cities around the world—that could mean the end of loud diesel buses spewing smoke or overhead electrical lines cluttering the view from the street. ABB also says that its system is more cost-effective than other mass transportation systems and more flexible as well because it allows for different types of designs for the charging stations.

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More information: www.tosa2013.com/en#/tosa2013

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Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2013
ABB also says that its system is more cost-effective than other mass transportation systems and more flexible as well because it allows for different types of designs for the charging stations.


But not as flexible for route planning, because once you erect a charging station, the bus has to stop there. The station won't move unless you dismantle it and rebuild it in another place.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (6) Jun 04, 2013
But not as flexible for route planning, because once you erect a charging station, the bus has to stop there.

Which is sort of the point for busses, isn't it?

As they say:
was designed to be used in areas of heavy congestion, where ridership would be high
If ridership is high then that busline is probably going to be around for a while.
Q-Star
2.2 / 5 (6) Jun 04, 2013
But not as flexible for route planning, because once you erect a charging station, the bus has to stop there.

Which is sort of the point for busses, isn't it?

As they say:
was designed to be used in areas of heavy congestion, where ridership would be high
If ridership is high then that busline is probably going to be around for a while.


Good point. Ya caused me to think about it,,,,, I've lived in this same house for 28 years, the town bus system & the university bus system have shared the same stop (with a little shelter thingy) kitty-kornered across the street for the entire time. They have refurbished or replaced the shelter thingy several times.... I only assume that these charging stations aren't on the scale of, say, a nuclear power plant, they could be relocated if necessary. How big could they be?

Sounds like a great idea, but the costs of such tech is something I'm clueless on. How expensive would the system (busses, charging stations, ect) be?
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (5) Jun 05, 2013
I've lived in this same house for 28 years, the town bus system & the university bus system have shared the same stop

Yeah. I've lived for all my life in cities or at the very least in the suburbs. And I have never seen a bus stop being removed (seen plenty added as settlements grew and infrastructure was improved, though)

The planing must contain some flexibility/range reserves as occasionally you will have maintenance of roadways - which means that certain bus-routes will need to detour and share stops with other routes.
But in heavy traffic zones that will only mean that paths will get a few percent longer - not outright double or somesuch.
If the bus has enough power reserves to make 2-3 stops without charging if absolutely required then that should be adequate (you always have to take into account that there will be maintenance or failure of a singular charging station once in a while).
Eikka
3 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2013
I was thinking more in terms of planning the routes where the busses go. Different bus routes don't stop at all the stops along the way. Besides, the power of diesel busses is that the same vehicle can serve the short route during rush hour, and then take on a longer route, and return later to serve the short route again instead of dedicating it just for that stretch of road. Better utilization of machinery leads to lower unit costs.

And, If you have such constant heavy traffic over a distance of a mile that you can set up a bus route and keep it in place for 30 years or more, it would be more productive to lay down tracks and have a trolley run the route. It uses much less energy.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2013
you can set up a bus route and keep it in place for 30 years or more, it would be more productive to lay down tracks and have a trolley run the route. It uses much less energy and doesn't need batteries, which makes it cheaper.


They're talking intensely used routes (e.g. cities). If a city isn't planned with a trolley system in mind then it's unlikely that you'll be able to afford the space to add one in later.
For the cost of moving entire city blocks (or tunneling under the city) you can buy a lot of busses.
And the advantage of electric trolley over electric busses isn't as great as electric trolley over diesel busses.
In terms of energy usage they should be about the same and in terms of noise electric busses are definitely better than trolleys.

Besides, the power of diesel busses is that the same vehicle can serve the short route during rush hour,

Just keep diesel busses for the long routes (for now) and call them in during rush hour.
italba
5 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2013
In Rome since 2005 a fleet of trolleybuses is serving a 11.5 Km (7.14 miles) route along via Nomentana. They use trolleys only on the wide, straight part of via Nomentana and batteries elsewhere. Engagement and disengagement of trolleys are automatic.
qitana
not rated yet Jun 05, 2013
It's very interesting, another advantage is that, with frequent charging, smaller batteries can be used. One could also think of applying this strategy for promoting electric cars. A nation could start to put these electric charging stations, here and there, locally, for busses. But also with dual use, for electric cars. would be very good for diminishing city pollution and since so many people live or work in cities, it could, for many people, be an attractive option.
Neinsense99
3.6 / 5 (9) Jun 08, 2013
It would not have to be available at every bus stop, given how close stops are in some areas. If it is available on 80% of stops, a few disruptions could be ignored.