U.S Gets Its First Wireless Fast Charging Bus
Link Transit from Washington state launched North America’s first public wireless fast charging bus system at its Columbia Station.
The wireless charging system was provided by the Momentum Dynamics and is rated at around 200 kW (roughly 208 kW was successfully transmitted during the launch).
The bus (BYD K9S) is one of five BYD electric buses in operation by Link Transit. The company will now determine how the $250,000 station copes in service and will consider whether or not to add wireless charging to the four other buses.
Previously BYD and Momentum Dynamics delivered a 50 kW wireless charging bus and station in Maryland as a pilot project.
208 kW of power is 3.4 kWh per minute – or 60 times more than using the standard 3.3 kW on-board charger in a car. However, for vehicles as big as buses, 200 kW is just the starting point to call it fast charging.
“The wireless 200-kilowatt (kW) on-route battery charger is from Momentum Dynamics was installed at Columbia Station and successfully transmitted 208 kW to Link’s new 2017 BYD K9S coach bus. West said this use of automatic wireless charging represents the first time that a 200-kW wireless charging system has been placed into routine revenue service with a public transit agency. Previous installations have achieved charging rates of 25% of this power level. The higher power of the new system from Momentum Dynamics will allow much faster charging of the bus each time it stops for just a few minutes along a circulation route.
The ability to wirelessly charge a municipal bus is important in transit operations because faster charging allows the buses to achieve driving ranges that make them viable for most daily services. Link uses the electric buses on the routes operating in the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee area that are from 7 – 15 miles in length, with total travel of 120 – 150 miles per day. In order to compete with diesel vehicles, electric vehicles must be able to operate the full day while maintaining an energy reserve at the end of the day. The benefits of electric buses are zero tailpipe emissions and far lower operational costs for fuel and maintenance.
Previously, Link Transit has experimented with overhead conductive (wired) chargers as part of the e-Bus project. These chargers were very complex with many moving parts and had poor reliability. The wireless charger has no moving parts and should be much more reliable.
The immediate benefit of these wireless chargers is that in a typical scheduled layover, enough energy can be added to the battery to allow the bus to travel 12 – 15 miles. This allows the bus to operate a complete day of service.”
“Link has a total of five BYD coaches in service. Presently, only one bus is outfitted to work with the wireless charger. Over the next several months, the performance of this vehicle will be monitored as operating conditions change. The decision to retrofit the other four vehicles will be made based on the evaluation of these results.”
Macy Neshati, Senior Vice President of BYD said:
“BYD is proud to partner with innovative agencies like Link Transit as they continue to expand the potential application of battery-electric bus technology. We congratulate them on this milestone and are eager to continue working with them to change the world.”
Momentum’s CEO Andrew Daga said:
“We congratulate the leadership team and Board of Link transit for being the first in the nation to install this groundbreaking technology, this fundamentally changes the paradigm and the begins the process of electrifying the nation’s transit system – Wenatchee is the epicenter of this movement by the bold decision of Link’s management.”