Electric public transportation, of course, is nothing new, and has been used for decades. Current systems, though, are either unsightly, requiring overhead wires to transfer power to the vehicle, or downright dangerous, the third rail.
The latest solution, battery electric vehicles, does away with both of these power supply schemes, but does bring up some other issues, mainly, how they are recharged.
For the most part, electric vehicle charging requires getting out of the vehicle and manually plugging in a charger. Patience is the name of the game, but how would such a system work in say, an electric bus? Rechargers, in the case of an electric bus, are both inconvenient and slow. In order to get around this limitation, some electric buses have turned to inductive wireless charging in order to keep things moving along.
The test program running on bus route 63 in Mannheim, Germany will be testing the efficiency of German Bombardier’s wireless inductive charging technology. The charging pads will be located at various stops on the route, charging the bus batteries whenever the bus stops at that particular stop. Running this system with multiple chargers on the route reduces the need for larger batteries, maximizing passenger space and minimizing overall vehicle weight, making for better efficiency.
The test will run for a year and will keep track of the performance of the bus’ traction system, wireless charging characteristics, and usage of the power grid. The data gathered from the test will be used to optimize battery capacity, charger placement, and possibly changes to the power grid on the next series of electric buses to be put into service.