Lithium-ion battery maker EnerDel has been selected to provide the heavy-duty battery systems used to power Japan’s first lithium-ion-powered electric bus. The vehicle was converted by Tokyo R&D, and is scheduled to hit the streets on regular local routes in Toyama, a coastal city located on the Sea of Japan.
Our battery systems were chosen on the basis of performance and flexibility and the fact that they can easily be configured to fit the challenging design requirements in the accessible, low-floor bus design that is becoming standard around the world. We anticipate that medium and heavy-duty fleets are going to be one of the earliest and most important markets for this technology.
—Naoki Ota, COO for EnerDel
The project was initiated last April by Hokuriku Electric Power Company, which is headquartered in Toyama, in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It is the third such announcement from the “Green Crossover Town,” an EnerDel-ITOCHU collaboration, previewed at EnerDel’s technical seminar last week in Indiana. The “Green Crossover Town” comprises a systematic roll-out of integrated systems that provide the critical link between renewable energy, high-speed charging for electric cars and the local utility grid.
The two previous announcements combine a residential smart grid energy storage project at an ITOCHU-owned building in Tokyo and a smart grid integration project involving Mazda and a chain of ITOCHU-owned convenience stores in Japan.
EnerDel’s heavy duty battery systems are also being used in 16 fuel cell buses made by coach builder Van Hool and UTC Power, a unit of United Technologies Corporation. Twelve of them will go to California’s Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), while four others will be used by various transit agencies as part of the US Federal Transit Administration’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program.
ITOCHU is EnerDel’s official sales and marketing partner in Japan, and has been a significant investor in parent company Ener1, Inc. In July, EnerDel and ITOCHU joined with longtime EnerDel customer THINK to convert electric drive delivery trucks for Japan’s postal service. (Earlier post.)