Multi-standard charging now hits electric buses
The war of charging standards for electric cars expanded to the electric buses in Europe and at least temporarily, the remedy for the ailment seems to be multi-standard charging stations.
There are to two major (but not the only ones) overhead bus charging standards at the moment - OppCharge and the Bus-Up system. At first, there was only a single system (buses and stations) in the particular cities, but when at some point two incompatible standards will appear in one place or in one fleet, there is a need for a multi-standard charging stations (sort of CHAdeMO and CCS Combo in case of cars).
Here is one of the first examples of such multi-standard charging station, provided by Heliox in Luxembourg for the Sales-Lentz. One Heliox OC charger allows electric buses to charge with different interfaces: Bus-Up and Oppcharge.
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The Bus-Up is kind of a pantograph type, while OppCharge is inversed pantograph. If we end up adding a few other standards in Europe and U.S. plus the wireless charging standards, we feel the industry has a lot homework to do.
To amplify the change towards electromobility, Heliox has committed to anchor continuous innovation through its products and durable fast charging solutions that drive e-mobility. The new multi-standard charging system allows different e-buses independent of the interface they use for charging, to charge with one Heliox fast charger. This means that both the buses that follow the principles of Bus-Up and the buses that use the Oppcharge system use the same Heliox charger for their charging sessions and automatically switch from one to the other.
As Sales-Lentz has always been an early adopter of new technologies, it is no surprise that the new technology of Heliox is implemented in their bus depot in Bascharage, Luxembourg. “We understand our role as a public transport operator to trigger our suppliers, bus manufacturers, software developers, to deliver and develop technologies that meet the market needs. Being very close to public and private customers that require mobility solutions, Sales-Lentz sees itself as a development partner and an entrepreneur ready to invest in sustainable mobility,” General Director Sales-Lentz Technics, Georges Hilbert.
In June 2017, Heliox delivered its fast charging system to Sales-Lentz, comprising of 3 charging stations laid en route in the city of Differdange and in the bus depot. These buses charge via inverted pantograph system, with a wireless communication.
As Sales-Lentz will deploy new e-buses, which follow the Bus-Up system (roof-mounted pantograph), Heliox has engineered a multi-standard system, which allows both bus models to be charged with the same charging equipment.
“Thanks to the win-win partnership of HELIOX and Sales-Lentz that led to this development, the Grand Duchy is one of the front-runners of e-mobility in Europe. As in many other sectors, the Luxembourg government supports also new innovative technology in public transportation. We are happy to see that more and more cities are in fast pace moving towards sustainable transportation. Projects such as the multi-standard system push e-mobility further and contribute to a healthier, climate-and-environmentally-friendly society to preserve the quality of life for our citizens,” said Luxembourg’s Secretary of State of the Economy, Francine Closener.
Luxembourg is making major efforts to switch sensitive lines that run across living areas and city centers, where pollution levels are critical, to sustainable solutions with reduced or zero emissions.
“This project continues to support our forward-thinking approach in delivering innovative systems to the market that emphasize interoperability and the importance of open standards. We are proud to have been delivered this project together with Sales-Lentz for the future of Luxembourg. We are happy to see that transportation sector throughout Europe is turning further towards alternative forms of mobility and our reliable and robust innovations are well-received,” Koen van Haperen, Business Development Manager