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Group of European electric bus manufacturers agrees on an open interface for charging

European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have agreed to ensure the interoperability of electric buses with charging infrastructure provided by ABB, Heliox and Siemens. The objective is to ensure an open interface between electric buses and charging infrastructure and to facilitate the introduction of electric bus systems in European cities.

Common, preferred interfaces will be opened up for all market participants and will be used for electric buses for opportunity charging (fast charging at end stops) and for overnight charging. The group is committed to contribute to European standardization activities and to share experiences with CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC in order to establish a common European standard for electric bus systems.

For opportunity charging, the system includes automatic contact by a pantograph, wireless communication, contacting plates and infrastructure equipment that automatically connect vehicles with a pantograph. For overnight charging, the fast charging standard for cars (CCS) will be used as a base for the plug and for the communication.

(The Swedish transport operator Byberg & Nordin recently adopted the first European Electric Bus complying to the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard. The Dutch OEM VDL Bus & Coach delivered a Citea Electric with Heliox CCS-compliant DC Fast Charger.)

The public transport community is preparing for electric buses in Europe and standardization activities have started via the European body (CEN-CENELEC) and via the international organization for standardization (ISO/IEC). European standards are expected to come in place 2019 and international standards in 2020.

However, many cities are implementing electric bus systems already. In order to meet the needs of these cities, European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have together with charging system suppliers ABB, Heliox and Siemens agreed to an open, transparent and voluntary approach.

The objective is to facilitate the transfer to electric bus systems in cities to ensure reliability and compatibility across bus brands and charging systems. Other bus manufacturers and charging system suppliers are invited to join the cooperation.



Excellent idea. Hope that the rest of the world will follow and that the system is easily upgradable.


Agree. Standards accelerate innovation;

James McLaughlin

Meanwhile, just about everyone has AC charging on board but no mention of it above. BYD uses AC only, and very cost effectively. The disadvantage of the AC only approach (charging integrated into the motor drive electronics) is lack of galvanic isolation but that is mitigated by isolation monitors and double insulation. Most of the solar PV market has gone that direction also (no galvanic isolation), probably due to the lower cost and reasonable safety.


Hi Jim,
I think that especially for buses, the additional level of safety provided by galvanic isolation may be important, since people may be getting on and off the bus during the charging process.
Also, for fast charging (>300kW), an automated overhead connection like the Opbrid Busbaar would be more difficult to provide the 6 contacts needed for AC charging. The 4 contact CCS DC connection is already hard enough! And since we are getting close to a standardized DC overhead connection (Opbrid/Siemens/ABB/Volvo/Novabus/others), AC charging like you describe may always be cable and plug only.
Getting all-day bus operation including AC and heat is difficult - even a BYD bus will likely need a fast charge topup during the day, and 300 to 650kW is tough to do using an AC plug.


Self-regulated quick DC charging facilities (on demand) will be available in the not too distant future.

Standardized adequate connectors and cables to suit various charging rates and voltages will be adopted, developed and upgraded as required, much the same way as computer data cables and connectors have been done in the last 30+ years.

The majority of slow limited charging facilities will certainly become wireless. Ultra quick charging (300 to 600+ KW) facilities (for extended range and large e-vehicles) will be wired with possible automated connect to avoid handling and/or contacts with users.

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