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Berlin to test wireless electric bus charging on complete line in 2015

In 2015, Berlin transport operator BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe) will begin testing of a complete downtown line with Solaris electric buses equipped with on-board power supply equipment from Vossloh Kiepe and the PRIMOVE inductive charging system from Bombardier. A similar bus went into service in the city of Braunschweig in April of this year. (Earlier post.)

The BVG will acquire a total of four 12-meter buses for electric operation on the 6.1-kilometer (3.8-mile) line between Zoologischer Garten (Hertzallee) and Station Suedkreuz Station. The Technical University of Berlin is supporting the project.

The PRIMOVE inductive charging system system is designed with an output of 200 kW, and uses an undercarriage pantograph-like mechanism lowered above an in-ground charging pad. At that transfer rate, only a few minutes fo charging time are required at the respective endpoints of the line.

BVG is receiving federal funding totaling nearly €2.3 million (US$2.9 million), while some €1.3 million (US$1.6 million) in funding is going to the TU Berlin. The funded project will run until summer 2016; BVG is planing for a longer use for the e-buses.



Bang goes notions that inductive charging is limited to low power, although of course the pantograph means that this can be over a very narrow gap.

The issue I can see with this concept though is how much the batteries able to take this very fast charge are going to cost, and how long they will last.

Recent work shows that the damage done by fast charging is disputed, but even so the BYD concept of simply sticking in loads of cheap, simple LiFePo batteries is currently the leader, and may beat all the fancy newcomers.


It is a pity they couldn't put the charging pads at the stops + include an automatic system to either move the bus to the pad or vice versa.

In fact, they could make the pad move left to right under the bus, while the bus moves forward (and backwards).

Thus, the driver (or controller) only has to control the bus in 1 dimension, while the charging station moves the charger in the other. Perhaps, you could make the pad on the bus move as well.
This, the road has left to right, and the bus has front to back movement (say +- 50cms in each case). It should be possible to implement this in practice.
Thus, you could top up for say 15 seconds at each bus stop (or the busier ones anyway).


It is much easier to move the pad X,Y,Z and rotate than to move the bus. They can use lithium titanate batteries like those made my Altairnano and Toshiba, they charge rapidly and take thousands of cycles.

I did not think they could do 200 kW with inductive, but here it is. There will be skeptics and nay sayers with little or no knowledge chiming in, but the proof is right here.


Oh, sure, you can do it... but how much does it cost, and what sort of losses are there?

When does it make sense to use a Busbaar instead?


Parking these buses in the correct place will have to be fully asutomasted,(that should not be a major challenge) otherwise, our overly paid drivers will want an another extra $122,000/year each to do it?

Fully automated (driveless) e-buses is the solution. That should be a possibility by 2020 or so?

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