Wireless Charging To Be Tested On 4 Extended-Range Electric Buses In London

SEP 11 2014 BY MARK KANE 28

Alexander Dennis Enviro400H

Alexander Dennis Enviro400H

Transport for London announced a new project with four extended range diesel electric hybrid double deck buses, which next year will be tested in east London using wireless charging to operate mostly in pure electric mode.

These will probably be the very first double deckers with wireless charging at bus stands. The project is part of a wider European Program called Zero Emissions Urban Bus System (ZeEUS).

“The specially built hybrid double deck buses will operate on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations. The Alexander Dennis Enviro400H E400 buses will be fitted with special technology enabling on-board batteries to receive a charge boost at bus stands at either end of the route.”

“It is hoped this will enable the buses to operate in pure electric mode for a significant period of the time they are in passenger service.”

“The trial utilises inductive charging technology that allows the buses to top up their batteries without the need to be physically plugged in, offering a more convenient option for use on busy London bus routes.”

“The buses have a diesel engine that will be used when the battery power on the bus is depleted, but it is anticipated this will only be a small amount of the time, meaning emissions on these vehicles are greatly reduced.”

TFL wants to trial if the technology can stand up to the rigors of operating in an intense urban environment and to understand whether electric-only mode could be realistically achieved.

Wireless charging system will be supplied by IPT Technology.

“Route 69 is operated by Stagecoach.
The partners in this project are: Alexander Dennis (vehicle supplier), IPT Technology (supplying the bus station charging technology), Siemens (for supplying the plug-in chargers based at West Ham bus garage) and TRL and TTR (provided monitoring and evaluation support)”

Categories: Bus, Charging

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28 Comments on "Wireless Charging To Be Tested On 4 Extended-Range Electric Buses In London"

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I wonder why they do not just install larger batteries? Twice as large battery will last two to three times longer, because the charge level can be maintained close to optimal range.

So actually sufficient range batteries are cheaper than short range batteries. At least in professional driving where high capital costs are easy to distribute over longer period of time.

Perhaps it is that energy density of batteries is not sufficient and only Tesla has managed to provide batteries that have sufficient energy density.

Sounds like part of this exercise is to determine what the optimal size should be based on real world operations.

The diesel run time will allow them to determine if any battery increase is needed to provide an adequate reliability margin against being stranded, without having to inconvenience the passengers during the trials.

It’s just crazy why they don’t do that. I don’t know about this bus (maybe someone else does?) but it should be somewhere around 20 kWh, definitely under 30 kWh.

That’s like a lousy Leaf. The weight and the size of that battery pack is easily hidden in a bus.
Twice the size would be no problem either. There are plenty of busses out there with 50 kWh, 100 kWh and even over 300 kWh.

So how hard would it be to fit 35-50 kWh in this one? Making sure it’s 100% electric all the time.

It’s not like $5k or so for the extra batteries would make any difference to the buyer on a $200-400k bus anyway.

The news here is it’s London and the mayor of that city has a goal to clean up his city. This is just one of his many projects for that purpose. Another is his project to buy back old diesel cars to get them off the roads. etc.

Sounds like a great idea:

1). First convince everyone that Petrol is bad all the time and then convert to ‘clean Diesel’

2). When too many children start suffering, offer to buy back the diesels.

3). Implement a clean electric program which uses what to charge the battery? More Diesel!

Typically overcomplicated way to solve a problem, especially when the length of the route is fixed.

BYD’s answer of a Decently sized battery would simplify all the issues except one.

This is almost as good as ABB’s and Siemens’ Ideas of putting a substation at every bus stop. Geniuses at work.

If they could just get the geniuses from Toyota to help them……..

I rode on some CNG fueled busses at the Grand Canyon and they were quite nice. No Diesel smell at all and low CO2.

Perhaps some Hydrogen spiked NG would make a good fuel for this app? England has some pretty big wind farms that could make the H2.

Here’s the article on insideev’s that discusses this concept. The Germans already have these systems up and running. They are using hydrogen as a big battery.


The UK is trialling hydrogen/battery combinations too:

At the moment it is the wild west, with all sorts of hybrids, BEVs, inductive charging and so on fighting it out and being trialled.

Why go low co2 when it’s so easy for bus companies and public transit to go no co2.

The answer is easy, buses that have enough battery. At least enough to reach a fast charging station.

They aren’t going all pure electric because diesel hybrids are cheaper the moment.

I have got figures but am not going to present them, because the target is shifting too quickly.

For instance, a lot depends on how long the batteries last, which is even more of a problem if you are fast charging at stops.

So we don’t even really have conclusive figures on how much the different alternatives cost.

That is what the smaller trials are establishing, and why there are smaller orders for the more radical technologies as they are thoroughly tested over time.

The balance is shifting from diesel, and even diesel hybrid however.

We just don’t know how fast.

And it’s not like NG is low on co2 anyway. It’s just a bit less high in co2 compared to oil (and coal).
Assuming no leaks that is.

We need to get rid of all the NG as soon as possible too.

Hi George, I never read the H2 article first time around since, well, we all have our own areas of expertise, and its simply something I’m not greatly interested in if its main purpose is to ‘reduce CO2’. CO2 is one of the building blocks of life, and has not changed the ambient temperature in the last 1000 years, the quotes by experts I’ve quoted 3 or 4 times in the past so I won’t repeat it here.. My favorite power source has slowly changed from Coal to Solar (I have a very large system on my house, installed a few months ago), since the Solar system is ‘grid friendly’ in that most of its output happens when air conditioning is running, and the output/extra usage tend to cancel each other out. Wind farms tend to be an “Annoyance” to the utility since the highest output can happen during the overnight when baseload power has to run. Our EPA in washington STILL at this late date does not understand the ramifications of baseload power and is making bone-headed decisions effectively making the power generation in this country even more inefficient, and in certain places guaranteeing that for regulation reasons alone… Read more »

I think whether you use P2G is country specific.

It makes sense for Germany as discussed in the article.

Personally I don’t think that we in the US will be going that way though for the most part.

With a decent build out of solar PV and (soon to be cost effective) battery backup we can get by in the US with just GAS backup from the grid.

If we take the coal plants off line and substitute NG – both simple cycle AND combined cycle we can get the response rate we need without all the fancy H2 infrastructure at least for the most part.

However I still think that spiking NG with H2 is a pretty decent idea as it saves on cost infrastructure for storage and transport.

If you ran spiked NG in a conventional diesel truck or bus you would have a pretty decent CO2 footprint. (pretty much speculation on my part though. I did read some articles that said the combustion characteristic of spiked NG were nearly the same as plain NG.

Let’s face it sometimes you need more energy density. You can’t put the space shuttle into orbit on batteries.

Yes George:

When George W. Bush said “We’re going to Mars!”, I said “Great Idea”, I’ll drive down to Florida to see W off – “Have a safe trip! See you in 50 years if you decide to come back!”.

In the US natural gas plants get on average a very low 42% efficiency:
(3412 Btu/kwh, gas uses 8039 Btu of heat to produce it)

That sounds ridiculously low considering a combined cycle gas turbine hits 60% without any fancy use of heat for district heating.

The problem is that they are hardly used in the US.
What is used is the far less efficient single cycle turbines, which are around 40% efficient.

That is because they are cheaper.
I haven’t tracked down what the relative costs are.
Cost is important because gas is used extensively for peaking power, so the cost is not amortised across many hours of use.

NG makes up 30% of US electricity use:

So increasing the 42% to 60% would mean that the percentage of electricity it generates could rise from 30% to 40-45% of power.
Coal could decrease from 38% to 23-28%

In the short term at least that would reduce CO2 emissions by far more than any imminent increase in solar use.

As I’ve mentioned, ‘excess CO2’ (if there is such a thing which I doubt) doesn’t bother me since there’s been 3X to 10X in the past, and it doesn’t drive temperature change anyway.

I could elaborate but it would just piss people off here since too many have no sense of humor.

I’m more worried about the 100,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 dead Jellyfish washing up on the west coast of north america. This kind of thing, such as dead and bloody Salmon, Sardines, anchovies, Orcas, Sea Lions, and herring are a more immediate REAL problem, and no one says boo about it, except of course the thousands of fishermen and fisheries that are being bankrupted. The marine biologists are the only “Profiles in Courage” here. At least they have found a bit of backbone to say, “Something Strange is going on in the Pacific!”.

HAHA, that’s like saying the last time it rained hard Noah built himself a boat.

We will see many more combined cycle plants in the US with the new proposed EPA guidelines for CO2 from the grid.

I have a friend at GE and I asked him how much the combined cycle plants are and the number was pretty low. I’ll have to google it. But it is so much, much lower than a Nuclear plant it’s an easy decision for the power companies…..especially when you start talking 8000$/kw that nukes are now.

I’ve put together some numbers and we can easily get a 60% reduction in the grid CO2 with just open cycle NG, CCNG and renewables.

I calculated that we could drop grid CO2 by 60% in AZ just by dropping coal, going to more NG and CCNG plants and increasing our PV to 30%.

It’s doable and at a reasonable cost.

fig 13 here

I appreciate your friendly answer George but it raises more questions than it answers.

I personally, have an extremely low “carbon footprint” because I don’t allow unwashed feet in my house.

Otherwise, with 2 ev’s getting most of their energy from the solar panels on the roof, I’m using only a tiny amount of gasoline.

People would say I have an excellent ‘footprint’, to which I would say I don’t like paying ‘carbon taxes’ to Al Gore, et al.

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
― Joseph Goebbels

There are, as you will know George, a whole heap of other technologies which don’t sound glamorous but which can help a lot in reducing CO2 and saving energy.

For instance part of the low efficiency of gas is because it is used as the spinning reserve, which literally means that the turbines continue to spin, so that they can rapidly ramp up to produce power.

IOW they are continually running on tickover, which of course burns gas without producing energy, just like idling your car at the lights.

Like stop/start technology for the car, if batteries are cheap enough they can be used to buffer that and reduce the amount of turbines needed to run on tickover.

We are going to need them too, if renewables are to play a bigger part, as they require the ability of on demand sources to switch on and off very quickly, as a flaw in the wind or for solar a passing cloud can really very swiftly alter grid load, so other things being equal more energy would be wasted on spinning reserve.

I am not going to get into debate about whether we need to reduce CO2 emissions on this thread!

‘In the US peaker plants are generally gas turbines that burn natural gas. A few burn petroleum-derived liquids, such as diesel oil and jet fuel, but they are usually more expensive than natural gas, so their use is limited. However, many peaker plants are able to use petroleum as a backup fuel. The thermodynamic efficiency of simple-cycle gas turbine power plants ranges from 20 to 42%, with between 30 to 42% being average for a new plant.’


Yes, these ‘inefficient’ plants contribute to overall system efficiency by lowering the need for larger baseload solutions. Such ‘inefficient’ plants will be needed in fact more often in the future, to compensate for additional wind power.

They are pretty small potatos in the general scheme of things, and I haven’t heard much local protest against them, other than the audible noise. But in general, we’re not worried about it here.

What is the kw rating of the charger?
I’m skeptical that the MPH charging number could possibly be high enough to do much good.

The engineering is easier than for a car, as the receiver plates can be bigger.

I don’t know what this one gets, but the Koreans get 100kw:

Thx for the link Dave.
I think you are right. It’s a matter of area.

If the bus got 1 mi/kwh that would be a charging rate of 100 MPH. Almost 2 miles per minute….almost usable eh?

That’s too generous for an electric bus.
I don[t have figures for this one, but for the BYD:
‘The energy consumption of the Electric Bus is less than 100 kWh per 60 miles.’

They will take a hammering where it is very cold too, and range will suffer unless they have an auxiliary heater of some kind.

A hydrogen RE is often preferred where it is cold/high altitude partly for this reason:

Its around a mile for a minute’s charging for the BYD.

Then around a mile per minute with a 100 kw wireless charger. Still not enough.

It depends on the route.
Downtime is built into bus timetables to allow for traffic, regulation driver breaks etc.
It also depends on the size of the battery pack, as the idea is not to provide enough to keep the battery fully charged, but to extend run time until the return to base.

At the moment it seems that we will be using a variety of different technologies for different routes, from massive battery packs able to do the whole day, to inductive charging en route to supplement the battery, and on board hydrogen REs.