Urban Transport

Fast-charging EDDA electric bus shows promise for regular use

Fast-charging EDDA electric bu...
The prototype EDDA Bus undergoing testing in Dresden
The prototype EDDA Bus undergoing testing in Dresden
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Drivers of EDDA buses will be able to use designated stops on their routes, that are equipped with high-capacity charging stations
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Drivers of EDDA buses will be able to use designated stops on their routes, that are equipped with high-capacity charging stations
The prototype EDDA Bus undergoing testing in Dresden
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The prototype EDDA Bus undergoing testing in Dresden

If electric buses are ever going to become a common sight in cities around the world, then they'll need to be able to operate like their traditional counterparts. This means no taking long breaks to recharge, or sacrificing seating space for the storage of huge batteries. While allowing them to draw power from the road is one alternative, the European EDDA Bus consortium is working on another – electric buses that can grab a quick charge at bus stops in just a few minutes.

Drivers of EDDA buses will be able to use designated stops on their routes, that are equipped with high-capacity charging stations developed by project partner M&P. Both visual markers on the curb and auditory cues will help them position the bus in the proper place, so that the station's overhead charging hood can engage the vehicle's heat-resistant rooftop contact system.

Drivers of EDDA buses will be able to use designated stops on their routes, that are equipped with high-capacity charging stations
Drivers of EDDA buses will be able to use designated stops on their routes, that are equipped with high-capacity charging stations

Designed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, along with Schunk Bahn- und Industrietechnik, that system includes positive and negative contact poles on each side plus a grounding system for added safety. Additionally, the contact system is mounted on a slide rail, allowing it a bit of wiggle room when engaging the charging hood.

Once the two are connected, the station automatically delivers power to the vehicle's battery pack, which was created by Hoppecke Advanced Battery Technology. Utilizing electronics developed by Vossloh Kiepe, a complete charge takes under 6.5 minutes, with drivers able to view the charge level on a dashboard display. The process can be interrupted and then resumed at a subsequent stop if need be.

The EDDA bus system began basic testing in Dresden last November, and reportedly passed "with flying colors." In the second phase of its test period, which began this February, it was able to handle a longer route (20 km/12.4 miles) that included several hills. There's currently no word on when or if it might be brought into permanent use.

For examples of similar overhead bus-charging systems, check out the technologies developed by Opbrid and TOSA.

Sources: Fraunhofer, EDDA Bus

7 comments
thk
If it takes 6.5 minutes, it is too long at a bus stop picking up passengers.
Tony Morris
If it has just travelled 20km perhaps it is at the terminus.
Freyr Gunnar
Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to go back to trolleybuses? No expensive batteries, no down time to recharge. And buses can be equiped with a diesel engine if they need to change their route slightly during construction work. www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/07/trolleytrucks-trolleybuses-cargotrams.html
Foiled
This is perfect! 5 minute breaks, every half hour is what my town pretty much has anyway.. I Want this here!
Brendan Dunphy
There's a similar system at work for the inter-terminal buses here in Nice, France using overhead chargers. It would seem more appropriate for these short-range shuttle services of 5-10 minutes than longer distances where intermediate charging stations would be required. Better batteries will render these systems unnecessary in the longer term but I guess they have a role to play.
TomGearing
I thought Gizmag was for news, but EDDA now has a bus similar to one from an American company, Proterra, that has been in service for 4 years already and it has had 50% greater range! (30 miles per charge) Link: http://insideevs.com/proterra-announces-largest-ever-u-s-order-for-electric-buses/ But Wait,There's More! How about Gizmag doing an article on the new, better Proterra electric bus? "Offering up to 180 miles of driving on a single charge, the new Proterra TerraVolt XR electric bus...." Did I miss the Gizmag report? Link: http://evobsession.com/proterra-announces-extended-range-electric-bus-180-mile-range/ Now that is news!
Stephen N Russell
Import or Lisc for US use alone, needed for US cities.