Spanish firm Opbrid, in partnership with Furrer + Frey has just released the Busbaar V3, a revolutionary new charging system that can power up a electric or hybrid bus in just five to eight minutes. Not only does this coincide with scheduling and driver rest breaks, but regular charging throughout the day reduces the size of the battery required, making the buses lighter and providing more space for passengers. The system can also be adapted to suit garbage trucks, street cleaners and delivery vehicles.
A previous version of the Busbaar system has been on trial in Gothenburg, Sweden since June, 2013. There it was anticipated to extend the electric-only running time of Volvo diesel hybrid buses to about 60 percent of their route. Fuel savings reached 81 percent, and energy savings reached 61 percent. The system connects to the vehicles in a similar fashion to the pantographs on high-speed electric trains, except the Busbaar pantograph drops down from above to connect with a copper bar on the roof of the vehicle. The system currently charges at a remarkable 650kW. By way of comparison, Tesla’s EV superchargers dispense 120kW, and they are around the top of their class.
The Busbaar roadside charger can be shared by up to eight buses, making the cost of the charging station per bus very low. By placing a fast charging station at one or both ends of a bus route, a hybrid or electric bus can run on electricity all day, charged each time it reaches the end of its route. Charging during the day allows the use of smaller, lighter, less expensive batteries than buses that only charge at night. This means lower battery cost, less weight, and more room inside the bus. For example, instead of using a 300 or 400kWh battery pack, only a 50 or 100kWh pack is required. Similarly, a hybrid bus can be converted to full-time electrical running while keeping the advantage of a backup diesel generator.
Besides the long-term benefits of less weight and more room, Opbrid say the initial added cost of the Busbaar per bus is more than offset by the reduction in the size of the batteries required, although no hard figures are provided. The Busbaar V3 also fits easily on most heavy vehicles, so cities can get even better return on their bus charger investment by also using them to charge electric rubbish collection, delivery vehicles and street cleaners.
Images via Opbrid