• Aug 18th 2014 at 8:02AM
  • 10
First, Swiss watches. Now this. Switzerland is home to a system that will allow battery-electric buses to get their juice in 15-second increments at bus-stop-mounted electric chargers. High-tech, indeed.

Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is leading of a group of public and private entities that is developing something called the TOSA bus system. TOSA buses get recharged via a robotic arm that connects the roof-mounted bus batteries to an electric charging system mounted on the bus stop. The buses can hold up to 133 people and the "flash charging" provides enough juice in a 15-second charge to get the bus to the next electrified stop without delaying the route. The researchers say such buses could be put into regular service in Geneva by 2017.

Bus electrification has been topical because of the traditionally low fuel economy of diesel-powered municipal buses as well as the troublesome electrification systems that require overhead lines for electric power. With that in mind, companies like China-based BYD have been developing battery-electric buses. This spring, BYD started making electric buses at its California factory and, earlier in the year, said it received an order for 1,200 electric buses from Dalian, China. There's a 100-second video about the TOSA system below.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Does it roast marshmallows too?
      Jim McL
      • 8 Months Ago
      I thought the 15 second claim for the ABB system was to charge super-capacitors, not batteries. This system might be viable if demand charges are low, but it could be extremely expensive in areas that have high demand charges for peak power. Sounds like a lot of stranded assets in the long run to me, just put in a bigger battery and fewer charging stations. In any area with high demand charges, there is a huge advantage to charging at night with a big enough battery to run all day.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jim McL
        @ Jim McL --"but it could be extremely expensive in areas that have high demand charges for peak power." There is no way the owner/maker of a super fast charger would ever supply such high power directly from the utility.... there will be large battery banks and even larger capacitor banks to ensure smooth power flow. This does mean that there is a limit on how many vehicles can be serviced in a day... but that is the trade off for getting vehicles in/out quickly.
      • 8 Months Ago
      It's easy to forget there are large public transport vehicles running on electricity right now. I think the overhead spider web is quite character building for a city. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trams_in_Melbourne#mediaviewer/File:E_6001_(Melbourne_tram)_in_Nicholson_St_on_route_96,_2013.JPG
      • 8 Months Ago
      Enough to get to the next stop.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The concept has been proposed years ago, but apparently everything involving alternative energy takes forever to but brought to production. I wonder why...
      • 8 Months Ago
      Do you know about Proterra EV Buses? Made in the US they use very similar technology and have been selling their buses for some time now. West Covina, Calif. just bought some.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why not just have trolley buses?
        • 8 Months Ago
        An advantage to traditional buses is they are more flexible with routes. A bus can be rerouted one block over for construction, flooding, etc.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Because the overhead powerlines are ugly and outdated.
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