Milton Keynes UK Wireless Electric Bus Trial Gets Underway (w/video)

JAN 12 2014 BY MARK KANE 6

Milton Keynes Electric Bus

Milton Keynes Electric Bus in Arriva fleet

Baroness Kramer, the Minister of State for Transport, recently officially launched an all-electric bus route in Milton Keynes, UK.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate that electric buses can perform on a par with diesel counterparts and to check commercial viability.

For five years, eight buses (converted Wright StreetLite) with wireless charging from Conductix-Wampfler will operate seven days a week, running 17 hours a day covering over 56,000 miles per year.

This Bus is Electric

This Bus is Electric

“Instead of plugging into the mains, the new buses will be able to recharge their batteries wirelessly during their working day. This means they can run a continuous service for a whole 17 hours, just like a diesel bus. The concept is simple: wireless charging plates set into the road transfer power directly to receiving plates underneath the bus, using a technique based on the principles of electrical induction. In just 10 minutes, a bus parked over a charging point will replenish two-thirds of the energy consumed on its 15-mile route.

Two wireless charging stations were placed on the route to serve whole fleet. Drivers have scheduled breaks when the 10-minute charging occurs, so there are virtually no delays in service.

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6 Comments on "Milton Keynes UK Wireless Electric Bus Trial Gets Underway (w/video)"

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All I have to say, that bus sure looks happy. Maybe a little smug.

Bus stops are another logical charge point as well. 20 stops at 30 seconds each is 10 minutes, with longer rests at the start and end of each journey.

Interesting idea. I still think having a decently sized battery in the bus to begin with to be able to handle the entire 17 hour shifts will be much cheaper than wiring every single bus stop. This particular bus has only 2 charge points, so it should be reasonably economical, both first cost and ongoing.

Any idea as to the charging rate? Probably pretty good clip since it has to do its job in ten minutes. Complications like demand charges limit the utility of this sort of thing pun unintended.

“The buses can be charged with 60 kW or 120 kW at bus stops or at route termini while passengers embark and disembark. While charging, the current collectors on the bus takes up a position about 40 mm from the charging coil in the ground, facilitating an extremely efficient energy transfer: 95% of the energy taken from the electricity grid is stored in the battery during normal operation. This makes the IPTĀ® technology, in a direct comparison, virtually as efficient as charging via a charging cable with very good battery chargers available today, and in many cases superior to low-priced plug-in battery chargers.”

How about winter operation, when you can have ice or snow on pavement preventing “40 mm from the charging coil in the ground, facilitating an extremely efficient energy transfer.”
And what about EMC at such power?
In any case it would be great to see the results of this field trial in numbers. There is a lot of things said about electric buses now, unfortunately there is virtually no field data available for anyone practically considering such a project in public transportation services.

They have been running inductively charged buses in Italy for 10 years, so there is plenty of data.
Since there are only two charging points per route, I would imagine that if it snows they deploy a mark I shovel.