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AKASOL supplying Li-ion battery systems for eight fast-charging electric buses in Cologne

AKASOL, a Germany-based provider of high-performance Li-ion battery systems (earlier post), is supplying the Li-ion battery systems for 8 all-electric articulated 18-meter buses, manufactured by VDL Bus & Coach, to be operated by the Cologne public transport company Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe. Both AKASOL and VDL are displaying their battery systems and Citea SLFA Electric articulated bus, respectively, at Busworld.

The VDL buses use AKASOL’s modular AKASYSTEM lithium-ion battery system in a 4 x 15M configuration in every bus. Each AKASYSTEM 15M is rated at 460 kW, 35 kWh, and 666 V and weighs 314 kg. The high-performance liquid-cooled battery system offers a charging capacity of more than 300 kilowatts and has an overall useable energy content of more than 100 kWh.

AKASOL 15M unit. Click to enlarge.

The AKASYSTEM batteries are recharged at the terminals with 250 kW using a fast-charging system via a pantograph (made by Schunk) attached to the roof of the bus, which is extended when the vehicle is at the charging station. The charging process takes around five to ten minutes. The batteries are then fully charged at the KVB Betriebshof Nord depot overnight. The power for the AKASYSTEM batteries in these electric buses will be drawn entirely from regenerative energy sources.

The high energy density of the AKASOL batteries enable longer ranges with lower weight. The fast-charging AKASYSTEM batteries are smaller than batteries that can only be charged overnight, for example, by a factor of three to five, according to the company. This in turn reduces the demand for materials and energy in the battery production process by the same factor. Manufacturers and operators of buses and commercial vehicles benefit from the low deadweight of these batteries, which makes it possible to transport greater payloads.

With 7,000 full cycles and millions of partial cycles, our battery systems provide the operator with high level of investment security and, due to their long service life, the best results in terms of the total cost of ownership.

—Felix von Borck, Managing Director of AKASOL GmbH

The KVB electric buses will be deployed on the 133 bus route (Breslauer Platz/Hbf – Zollstock) from December 2016. This seven-kilometer route, with a total of 13 stops, is particularly well suited to the scheme because this is an area where the high demands of urban traffic meet those of traffic on the edge of the city center.

Citea SLFA Electric e-bus. Click to enlarge.

The use of electric buses on the 133 bus route will reduce CO2 emissions by some 520 tonnes per year. The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia will bear part of the €6 million cost for purchasing the electric buses with a contribution of €1.92 million.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is supporting the KVB investment in e-buses in order to speed up the development of e-mobility.

—Michael Groschek, transport minister



This is an ideal use for an electric drive line and more cities are catching on to the benefits of replacing dirty diesel and anemic natural gas ICEs in busses with clean, high torque electric power.


Making configured battery packs makes it easier for truck and bus companies to make electric vehicles. Considering the stock power plant may be a large polluting diesel, this is good.


I fully agree with both of you. Articulated (100+ passenger) e-buses could reduce drivers cost by ($132K CAN/year) + others cost reduction.

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