This Electric Shuttle Charges In Just 20 Seconds


Fill ‘er up, and make it snappy!

If the electric vehicles are to be the future, then so must be flash charging — the ability to replenish a flat battery in several short minutes. And like EVs, it’s already happening. At least, in a limited sense.

The island city-state of Singapore can now boast a tram that recharges in a mere 20 seconds at proprietary stations along its route. While that sounds pretty amazing, the technical details reveal the limited nature of the vehicle’s abilities. To be blunt, this tech will not find lead to your Jaguar iPace (to choose an EV at random) recharging in under a minute. Still, the tech could be a good fit for other transportation modes aside from personal vehicles.

The NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle, as it has been romantically christened, was just launched by Nanyang Technological University, (NTU Singapore) and BlueSG Pte Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Bolloré Group’s Blue Solutions. As it stops to drop off passengers, it can flash charge its bank of supercapacitors  in less than half a minute. This is enough juice to roll along for two kilometers (1.24 miles), though it does have a Blue Solutions lithium metal polymer (LMP) battery as well that it can lean on for an additional 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), should the need present itself.

As part of its road trial, the 22-seater will shuffle the short distance between an NTU residence and CleanTech One, a six-story building that serves as home to assorted organisations, meant to be a hub for clean technology.


The joint research team comprising scientists from NTU’s Energy Research Institute (ERIAN) and BlueSG will study the actual on-road performance of the Bluetram in Singapore’s tropical climate, including the user behavior of passengers.

We suggest if you happen to have the opportunity to ride the Flash Shuttle, do not, under any circumstances, leave your chewing gum under a seat.

Source: GreenCarCongress

Categories: Charging

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10 Comments on "This Electric Shuttle Charges In Just 20 Seconds"

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So it can charge at 223 miles per hour.

A Tesla Supercharger can charge a Model S at 370+ MPH!

It’s not the first time this concept is explored. And for buses it might possibly make sense, since they do tend to follow particular routes and visit particular stops quite reliably.

Supercapacitors can charge basically however quickly you can supply the energy. But they don’t hold charge very well, and they don’t offer the energy density of li-ion batteries. So a hybrid solution where you very rapidly charge the supercapacitor, and then merely fast-charge the battery pack from the supercapacitor once you drive off, as well as provide power directly to the drivetrain, allows you to pick up a lot of energy en route even though the bus is in constant service.

So while one could argue that the headline is misleading and overstates how fast the bus charges, one could almost equally well argue the opposite – that this is a bus that never needs a charging stop. Or more accurately a bus system where an electric bus never needs to go on a charging break.

What is the weight of these supercapacitors?

As any alumnus of the now-defunct TheEEStory forum can tell you, the problem with supercapacitors is the very low energy density as compared to li-ion batteries. It’s the volume, more than the weight, which makes them unsuitable for use in pure EVs. However, some EVs do use a relatively small amount of supercapacitors as a buffer for regenerative braking and bursts of acceleration.

The volumetric energy density of supercapacitors is quite low. That’s why this bus can (according to the article) be powered for only 2 kilometers on its bank of supercapacitors, and has to rely on “a Blue Solutions lithium metal polymer (LMP) battery… for an additional 30 kilometers” of range.

This is the sort of solution we need for city bus routes. A smaller battery that can get the bus to/from the depot and first/last stop, then this sort of super capacitor that is quickly charged at every stop.
Sounds pretty simple, really.

It’s only “simple” if the transit authority installs and maintains charging stations every 2 kilometers or less along the entire route. Some might call that being rather profligate with resources.

Obviously it can only be used for routes where the bus stops frequently along its entire route. Of course for many bus routes, that latter requirement isn’t any restriction at all, but it would for example be unusable on express routes, where the runs between stops are often much longer.

They can charge 20 kWh in a few minutes with lithium titanate batteries.

Its a Battery-Capacitor hybrid. Yes the city buses can use capacitors for short trips of 2 – 3 km and any for travel more than that, they can draw from the battery. Good concept. This can be implemented in trains with charging facility in every train station.

I remember back in the ’70s they looked at powering buses with flywheels that would be spun up at bus stops since they wouldn’t take you very far.