Switzerland-headquartered heavy electrical company ABB Limited has pioneered a ‘fast charging’ technology which can power up the battery of an electric bus in less than 20 seconds. The company plans to roll out buses with this technology on a route in Switzerland's Geneva soon.
Once implemented, the technology will allow buses on TOSA or Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation to quick charge up to a certain level on select passenger stops. The bus will be charged before new passengers finish boarding. The process is expected to take around 20 seconds. Once the bus reaches its final destination, it will be allowed to fully charge itself and that process will take around five minutes.
The quick charging feature could not only encourage faster adoption of the less-polluting electric buses but ABB estimates that the shorter charging intervals will also mean that the buses can do more trips. Today, it takes considerable time to recharge most electric buses across the world.
The interface of TOSA is fairly simple and involves only a high-power charge feeding station at the bus terminal and the connection arm on the bus. When the bus arrives and stops at the right point, the connection arm automatically aligns and connects to the feeding station.
Another feature of the technology is that the feeding station need not be present at every bus station and can be installed on select bus stations depending on the energy required for the particular route. ABB says that the energy consumed by the buses will vary and depends heavily on factors such as topography of the route, size of the bus, number of passengers, along with heating and cooling facilities in the bus.
With depleting fossil fuel reserves and increasing pollution, a shift to cleaner sources of fuel is currently being undertaken on a war-footing, especially in developed nations.There has been a renewed push for electric vehicles in recent years and India, for example, wants to stop selling petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. The high cost involved has proved to be a deterrent and ABB and other players face the challenge of making their technology cost-efficient to encourage India and other countries embrace electric transport.