Urban Transport

TOSA tech charges up electric buses in 15 seconds

TOSA tech charges up electric ...
A new flash-charging system for electric buses delivers 15-second-long battery boosts at selected stops
A new flash-charging system for electric buses delivers 15-second-long battery boosts at selected stops
View 2 Images
At every third or fourth stop, a charging mechanism on the roof of the bus engages an overhead receptacle that’s installed at the stop
1/2
At every third or fourth stop, a charging mechanism on the roof of the bus engages an overhead receptacle that’s installed at the stop
A new flash-charging system for electric buses delivers 15-second-long battery boosts at selected stops
2/2
A new flash-charging system for electric buses delivers 15-second-long battery boosts at selected stops

When you think of an electric bus, you probably either picture a vehicle that has to stay constantly connected to overhead trolley cables, or that attempts to run its entire route on one charge of its onboard batteries. In Geneva, however, they’re trying something else – a system in which an electric bus takes 15 seconds to receive an energy boost at selected stops.

Billed as “the world's first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system,” the technology was created by the Zurich-based ABB Group. The system is known as TOSA, or Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation [Optimizing Power System]. Here’s how it works ...

The bus begins its route with a fully-charged battery. At every third or fourth stop, a charging mechanism on the roof of the bus engages an overhead receptacle that’s installed at the stop. The charging mechanism is mounted on a movable arm, and is able to line itself up with the receptacle using a laser guidance system. Once the two devices are coupled, the receptacle delivers a 15-second-long 400-kilowatt boost to the bus’ batteries. This takes place as passengers are getting on and off of the bus.

At every third or fourth stop, a charging mechanism on the roof of the bus engages an overhead receptacle that’s installed at the stop
At every third or fourth stop, a charging mechanism on the roof of the bus engages an overhead receptacle that’s installed at the stop

At the end of its route, the bus takes three to four minutes to completely top up its batteries.

Working with Geneva’s public transport company (TGP), the Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies, and the Geneva power utility SIG, ABB is now about to begin a pilot project in which TOSA will be tested on an articulated 135-passenger bus. That bus will be running a route from the Geneva airport to the Palexpo exhibition center, and will additionally incorporate a system that harvests the power generated by braking.

Not only does TOSA eliminate the visual clutter of trolley cables, but it also frees up buses using the technology to go anywhere in the city, as long as there are enough charger-equipped stops on their route. What's more, in the specific case of Geneva, all of the electricity used comes from hydro power – so no CO2 emissions are involved at any step of the process.

More information on the pilot project is available in the video below.

Source: ABB Group

TOSA2013 (English version)

23 comments
bocretion
One shortcoming of current (hehe) overhead electric delivery systems is that, in the case of a road closure or accident on the route, the buses may be unable to detour around the obstacle. This type of system should address that. I also like the idea of doing away with the tangle of lines, especially where routes turn and the lines need extensive tension supports.
BeWalt
It's a great system and probably the way to go for electrified bus lines.
But this is not the "world's first". There's a great article on Wikipedia about this technology, search for the term "capa vehicle". Looks like this was tried in Shanghai starting in 2005.
Maybe ABB has some detail in this that is different from what was done in Shanghai and thus tries to claim the "first" label. I might be missing that.
Jeff J Carlson
"no CO2 emissions are involved at any step of the process" right up until that point it was a great article ... then it had to jump into the CO2 is bad nonsense ... get over it, CO2 is not heating up the planet ... electric city buses are a good idea becasue of the other reduction in emissions and noise not CO2 reduction ...
Freyr Gunnar
Clever :-)
Gavin Roe
not a lover of the articulated buses but think this could be a winner although I have heard of similar systems
The Skud
I wonder if you could retrofit the system to EC or hybrid SUVs or vans? Ford Transit at least had one model in its range. Allow delivery vehicles to use bus stops and quick charging and a lot of city pollution disappears! Garage doors might need to be modified though.
Future3000
400 KW x 15 seconds = 1,66 KWh charging. If this buses needs only this energy, they can use a very small, high effective and cheap 20 KW on board range extender using biogas or hydrogen made of hydro-power instead this expensive environment. Refueling less than 3 minutes too.
Tommo
I think this is a brilliant idea, however, what about the electrical field for the passengers, would this not cause health problems? Its a VERY high voltage just a few inches from their heads...
Peter Feuilherade
See an overview of electric urban transport in the International Electrotechnical Commision publication e-tech, April 2013
http://www.iec.ch/etech/2013/etech_0413/tech-2.htm
Coconut Grover
@Jeffrey J Carlson I'm not sure the inclusion of a fact, "no CO2 emissions are involved at any step of the process", turns a "great" article into a not great article. The author made no statement as to how good or bad CO2 is, but you assumed he is saying it's bad. By the way, you are correct, CO2 isn't warming the planet, it's insulating it thus aiding in the trapping of heat. That is what is heating the planet, and that is a scientifically accepted fact by more than 96% of those whose expertise makes them qualified to interpret and draw conclusions from the data.