London transport body to test battery-charging at bus stands

August 28, 2014 by Nancy Owano

Stagecoach Manchester Enviro400H hybrid bus. Credit: Dan Sellers/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Transport for London (TfL) on Wednesday announced a trial to enable specially designed buses to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at bus stands. The trial will involve the use of extended-range diesel electric hybrid double deck buses. TfL is the local government organization responsible for most aspects of the city's transport system. The goal is a system where the buses can keep running as efficiently as possible. Inductive charging will be put to use in four such electric hybrid buses in east London from 2015. The trial centers around inductive charging technology which allows the buses to top up their batteries without the need to be physically plugged in.

These are "Alexander Dennis Enviro400H E400 ." The vehicle is a double deck hybrid bus with 61 to 78 seats which Alexander Dennis Limited, a bus manufacturer, said offers fuel and greenhouse gas reductions circa 30%. Passengers will notice the buses offer much lower noise and vibration levels compared to conventional diesel vehicles. The buses also have significantly reduced tail pipe emissions. The buses have a diesel engine that will be used when the power on the bus is depleted, but it is anticipated this will only be a small amount of the time, with emissions on these vehicles reduced.

Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, said, "This trial of extended range diesel buses, utilizing the latest inductive charging technology, could be a step closer to getting even cleaner double deck buses on London's streets." Results of the will be closely monitored. Overall, he and his colleagues are continuing their assessment of technology that can deliver genuine environmental benefits.

The hybrid double deck buses will operate on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations. The buses will be fitted with special technology, said the news release, enabling on-board batteries to receive a charge boost at bus stands at either end of the route.

According to the news release, "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." Project partners include Alexander Dennis (vehicle supplier), IPT Technology (bus station charging technology), Siemens (plug-in chargers based at West Ham bus garage) and TRL and TTR ( monitoring and evaluation support).

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