News Item

Electric bus can run all day

Electric buses which can run all day are due to enter service by the end of the month.

The fleet of 8 new electric vehicles will operate along a busy route in Milton Keynes from late January. They will cover the 15 mile (24 km) route between the suburbs of Wolverton and Bletchley, which carries ~800,000 passengers a year.

After a night charging at the depot, the buses receive booster charges throughout the day at the start and end of the route. The bus parks over plates buried in the road - the driver then lowers receiver plates on the underside of the bus to within 4 cm of the road surface and the bus is inductively charged for around 10 minutes before resuming service.

The inductive charging involves passing alternating current through wire coils in the road plates, generating a magnetic field. This field induces an alternating current in coils in the bus's plates - this is then rectified to DC and used to charge the vehicle's batteries; hence the vehicles can be fitted with smaller, lighter batteries, reducing the amount of power required to drive them.

The new vehicles - the first of their kind to operate in the UK - have been built by UK bus manufacturer Wrightbus, and will operate as part of a 5-year trial programme led by the European division of Japanese company Mitsui and UK engineering group Arup.

John Bint of Milton Keynes Council explains 'Electric buses have huge potential and we're exploring how they can help us take better care of the environment without compromising passenger service. With the help of the project collaborators, we'll be monitoring the buses closely over the next 5 years.' He added that, if successful, the plan was to roll out the system to all bus routes in the town.

Professor John Miles, an Arup consultant and engineering research professor at Cambridge University, added 'These electric buses will be expected to do everything a diesel bus does. They will be operating on a demanding urban route, and that's all part of the trial's aim - to prove that electric buses can be tough as well as green.'

Similar systems are already being used in Turin and Genoa in Italy, Utrecht in the Netherlands and in Mannheim in Germany.

And last year, South Korea introduced a 12 km (7.5 mile) road which can recharge electric vehicles as they drive over it - without the need for vehicles to stop at all. Two public buses are using the Online Electric Vehicle system (OLEV) in the S Korean city of Gumi.

Details from the BBC below . .

  • 13 January 2014
  • RIN

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