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Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

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Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:49 am

As some may be aware, there's a vigorous all-out push in many European cities, as well as China, to electrify their bus fleets (what a different world from Australasia!) and there's been an umbrella EU project in Europe, Zeus, guiding this. As most would be aware, there have been numerous trials and in-service applications of autonomous (battery or battery/capacitor) electric buses for some time now. There are even some of these buses in Australia.

The biggest problem is of course achieving range without compromising the functionality of the bus and, like similar developments with trams, there have been numerous (attempted) solutions trialled including flash recharging at stops and induction ground power (Bombardier Primove), most of which haven't been adopted because they're so extremely costly and can compromise and delay the operation every time the bus needs a recharge. On the other hand, loading more batteries on board (which the Chinese like to do) ends up compromising the bus by taking away internal space. In practical terms, the best autonomous operation has got as far as 10 to 12 metre rigid urban buses with a range up to 200-300 km, which can get through a shorter roster with just an overnight recharge. However, articulated buses are still beyond reach of the technology (except the very costly Primove).

The Czechs have been working on increasing the range of autonomous (wire-free) operation (mainly in trams and trolleybuses) for some years now and development has reached the point of enabling larger operations to consider compete bus fleet conversion, including artioulated buses. Prague is now embarking on this, the challenge being that it operates one of the largest proportions of articulated buses of any fleet, over 40% of the fleet, due to the extremely heavy task that the bus operation performs (over 350 million passenger journeys per year, that's over 60% more than Australia's biggest, State Transit). So it's necessary for the technology to be able to move articulated buses in heavy-duty operation, yet a technology like Primove is far too costly to afford.

The solution that they have come up with is what they call the partial trolleybus, which is a bus that uses the trolleypoles for recharging only and not as the primary method of powering the bus which is by batteries (which are also charged by regeneration and overnight at the depot). The only infrastructure required is overhead wire for about 10% of the route, a small section of overhead at the termini for flash recharge and an overnight charging facility at the depot.

A trial route has been created in north-eastern Prague, with recharge wires only over the steepest section, the climb from the river basin to the top of the plateau. The rest of the route is wireless. Last Sunday, a day of public rides was held and for the occasion a 1954 Tatra T400 trolleybus was also brought out of the DPP museum to commemorate 45 years since trolleybuses last operated in Prague.

Below is a video of yesterday's activities. The T400 of course had to be turned around by towtruck as there is no turning loop in the wires. The other new fully low-floor buses are by the Czech bus manufacturer SOR. The 3 door bus is purely a battery bus with pantograph for flash recharging at termini. The other 4 door bus is is a model that's been around for a few years as a diesel and (conventional) trolleybus model and in this case is now fitted out as a partial trolleybus with batteries. Note the automated, remote control of the poles which no longer have ropes with reels. As you can see in the video, they lower on the move, while, for raising, they rise into hats at a stop during the stop dwell.

Remember, this is not a trolleybus operation, it's a battery bus with recharge on the move - which of course doesn't stop everybody enthusiastically saying "look, trolleybuses have returned to Prague!" It is hoped to start the serious business of trialling articulated bus operation soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt8-KQWIaPI
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:10 pm

I'm really quite surprised hydrogen-fuelled vehicles just aren't getting the attention they once were. I would have thought these would be preferable to the electric-only vehicles where recharging (in service) requires a lot of potentially costly modification.

Much as wires for trolleybuses and light trail might be an eyesore (for some), I personally think its far more practical than vehicles that depend solely upon batteries, not to mention that the materials used in batteries are every bit as finite as oil.

Still though, it is interesting to see how research is focusing on electric-only, battery-powered vehicles.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Tonymercury » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:02 am

Ask yourself how Hydrogen is produced and does this introduce an extra stage that means that the electricity is better used in a more direct fashion.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:45 am

This is quite a good summary of where hydrogen stands by comparison:

https://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/11/el ... gen-worst/

and this:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... h-expense/

In the latest October issue of their house magazine, DP Kontakt, DPP Prague (the city operator) clarifies further the details and definition of the Prague project. Unfortunately it's a PDF and in Czech, so I can't reproduce the useful diagrams, but they have better-defined the types of electric bus.

[Edit: somebody else kindly extracted the image showing the different types for me -]

prague.JPG
prague.JPG (76.76 KiB) Viewed 8222 times


At the first level there is the traditional trolleybus that runs 100% on overhead wire. Production of these has diminished in recent years and will eventually cease, if they haven't already.

Next there is the partial trolleybus that has batteries and can run 10-30% of its service on batteries and only requires overhead wire for 70-90% of its run. This is now the standard type of trolleybus in recent years.

Next there are two types of autonomous electric bus. The first (the type being tested in Prague) DPP now calls a dynamic electric bus because it can charge on the move (supplemented by static recharge at termini and at the depot). This can run 70-80% of its service on batteries and 10-30% on overhead wire. The alternative in-ground induction recharge method would also be considered a dynamic electric bus, but the system is so costly that it's unlikely to be a practical proposition.

Finally, there is the static electric bus that runs entirely on batteries with static (stationary) recharges at termini and/or at the depot. This is the only one of the four types that has a range limitation and the bigger the bus, the greater the range limitation.

It seems that the way the technology is shaping up, it's likely that the static electric bus may be able to achieve viable route service for buses up to 12 metres. For larger buses like artics, dynamic charging will be necessary. The next thing is for the cost equation to work out that it becomes viable for operators to replace diesel and gas buses with electric buses. There are signs that this is now becoming the case (e.g. Sydney Airports Corporation operations).
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:58 am

On a slightly tangential subject, this is an image of a ZF AVE130 low-floor drive axle with electric hub motors showing a typical example of how it's been possible to have fully low floor electric/trolley buses. The stepless aisle passes through the inverted portal between the wheels. This particular axle is being used for the Bustech electric bus ZDi:

Image
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Tonymercury » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:39 am

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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:34 am

Here is a presentation by a DPP Prague engineer on the present project and earlier battery bus trials. Although it's in Czech, enough interpretation can be made from the illustrations and the words with Latin roots to make some sense of it:

http://www.top-expo.cz/domain/top-expo/ ... ek-jan.pdf
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby boronia » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:00 am

The concept of battery power and hub motors is not new. This contraption was around in Sydney in 1909. It had a claimed range of 20 miles per charge, and a top speed of 20 mph. Such machines were common in Europe and England.

It was a German design from Ferdinand Porsche. It had 80 batteries under the bonnet.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:36 pm

boronia wrote:The concept of battery power and hub motors is not new. This contraption was around in Sydney in 1909. It had a claimed range of 20 miles per charge, and a top speed of 20 mph. Such machines were common in Europe and England.

It was a German design from Ferdinand Porsche. It had 80 batteries under the bonnet.

Yes well of course as we know, none of this electric traction stuff is new, it just got pushed aside in the rush to embracing the combustion engine. So after an interval of many decades, many people have forgotten about the earlier stuff and are strutting around with pride at having "reinvented the wheel".
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby rogf24 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:18 am

Toyota has a new hydrogen fuel cell concept bus. And it's not a mini-bus like a Coaster.

https://newatlas.com/toyota-sora-fuel-c ... kyo/51825/
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:59 am

rogf24 wrote:Toyota has a new hydrogen fuel cell concept bus. And it's not a mini-bus like a Coaster.

https://newatlas.com/toyota-sora-fuel-c ... kyo/51825/

As Mr Mercury wrote above:

Tonymercury wrote:Ask yourself how Hydrogen is produced and does this introduce an extra stage that means that the electricity is better used in a more direct fashion.


We need a practical, workable and financially viable solution that can be implemented on a normal, full-scale operation over the compelte range of bus sizes and capacities, right now.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby rogf24 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:17 pm

TBH, I don't see hydrogen and batteries in competition to cancel each other out of the market. I think we'll see a mix of both technologies being used on urban buses, just as CNG and diesel co-exist. On coaches and longer trips, hydrogen will have a big advantage since it is powered by the lightest element in the universe, a lot lighter and compact than batteries. Hydrogen does require electrolysis to produce that doesn't mean that it's a poor alternative to batteries depending on what you want.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:34 pm

My understanding of hydrogen is at least some of it is a byproduct of the refinement of oil, and is burned off as a flare (much like LPG is!).
Hydrogen can be used in a fuel cell, or in an internal combustion engine (which was trialled a few years back by M.A.N., I understand) - producing very low emissions.

Electric vehicles are only as clean as the source of the power, the reality is that a lot of electricity is still generated with fossil fuels, and this is set to continue for quite some time. I'm not against electrical vehicles, judging by this thread though, it still seems a heavy, expensive and possibly even impractical.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:51 pm

Electric buses benefit from lower WOL costs, including much much lower maintenance and have longer lives. This cancels the disbenefit of the higher establishment cost.

Re pollution, the significant overwhelming fact is that they don't produce pollution in the city. The source of the power in the countryside can be cleaned up as the technology changes. Diesel and gas buses have a big negative impact in cities, not to mention one running on imported oil which is an energy-security issue.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:09 am

It looks like ZF is making a bit of a push into Australia with this axle:

https://thewest.com.au/lifestyle/motori ... b88642951z
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Passenger 57 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:27 pm

Is there any justification for the CSELR preferring APS rather than batteries with dynamic recharging on the wired section? Sorry if this has been covered before. Presumably the (workable) induction solutions for bus are also proprietary which further adds to the expense of vehicle replacement due to vendor lock in.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Tonymercury » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:20 pm

Passenger 57 wrote:Is there any justification for the CSELR preferring APS rather than batteries with dynamic recharging on the wired section?


Its probably just what the consortium offered to TfNSW as part of their bid.

Newcastle is to be CAF batteries with charging from overhead at the terminals.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:18 pm

The long-term trial of the Bombardier induction system on buses in Berlin has been abandoned due to technical issues and cost. Batteries will nowadays easily get a tram along the length of the CSELR northern CBD section but things were less advanced back when the early planning days. Then Alstom came along and offered them their proprietary solution which they accepted.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Thu May 10, 2018 8:28 am

Not about artics, but a general, rather massive item of interest relating to electric buses!

https://electrek.co/2017/12/28/shenzhen ... ric-buses/
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby moa999 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:21 pm

Wellington also getting some all-electric buses, including some Double deck.
And a bunch of new diesels.

About the single floor electric
Seems to be batteries in the cabin by the looks.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standa ... ston-north

And about the fleet replacement
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/102220 ... -bus-fleet

And similar bus going to Auckland
(Has some video)
http://evtalk.co.nz/first-all-electric-bus-on-the-road/
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Sat May 12, 2018 8:01 am

moa999 wrote:Seems to be batteries in the cabin by the looks.

Already in Europe they are running buses with the same range without losing internal space to batteries. It all seems charmingly naive Kiwi stuff, conned by some salesmen from China etc without researching the subject fully. I like they way they talk as though they've discovered electric technology for the first time when they've been running trolleybuses for years - which incidentally had basically 100% availability with little downtime. Their ideological blinkers about trolleybuses have prevented them from exploring the full range of solutions. Quite parochial, but then its New Zealand...
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby eddy » Mon May 14, 2018 5:54 am

tonyp wrote:As some may be aware, there's a vigorous all-out push in many European cities, as well as China, to electrify their bus fleets (what a different world from Australasia!) and there's been an umbrella EU project in Europe, Zeus, guiding this. As most would be aware, there have been numerous trials and in-service applications of autonomous (battery or battery/capacitor) electric buses for some time now. There are even some of these buses in Australia.

The biggest problem is of course achieving range without compromising the functionality of the bus and, like similar developments with trams, there have been numerous (attempted) solutions trialled including flash recharging at stops and induction ground power (Bombardier Primove), most of which haven't been adopted because they're so extremely costly and can compromise and delay the operation every time the bus needs a recharge. On the other hand, loading more batteries on board (which the Chinese like to do) ends up compromising the bus by taking away internal space. In practical terms, the best autonomous operation has got as far as 10 to 12 metre rigid urban buses with a range up to 200-300 km, which can get through a shorter roster with just an overnight recharge. However, articulated buses are still beyond reach of the technology (except the very costly Primove).

The Czechs have been working on increasing the range of autonomous (wire-free) operation (mainly in trams and trolleybuses) for some years now and development has reached the point of enabling larger operations to consider compete bus fleet conversion, including artioulated buses. Prague is now embarking on this, the challenge being that it operates one of the largest proportions of articulated buses of any fleet, over 40% of the fleet, due to the extremely heavy task that the bus operation performs (over 350 million passenger journeys per year, that's over 60% more than Australia's biggest, State Transit). So it's necessary for the technology to be able to move articulated buses in heavy-duty operation, yet a technology like Primove is far too costly to afford.

The solution that they have come up with is what they call the partial trolleybus, which is a bus that uses the trolleypoles for recharging only and not as the primary method of powering the bus which is by batteries (which are also charged by regeneration and overnight at the depot). The only infrastructure required is overhead wire for about 10% of the route, a small section of overhead at the termini for flash recharge and an overnight charging facility at the depot.

A trial route has been created in north-eastern Prague, with recharge wires only over the steepest section, the climb from the river basin to the top of the plateau. The rest of the route is wireless. Last Sunday, a day of public rides was held and for the occasion a 1954 Tatra T400 trolleybus was also brought out of the DPP museum to commemorate 45 years since trolleybuses last operated in Prague.

Below is a video of yesterday's activities. The T400 of course had to be turned around by towtruck as there is no turning loop in the wires. The other new fully low-floor buses are by the Czech bus manufacturer SOR. The 3 door bus is purely a battery bus with pantograph for flash recharging at termini. The other 4 door bus is is a model that's been around for a few years as a diesel and (conventional) trolleybus model and in this case is now fitted out as a partial trolleybus with batteries. Note the automated, remote control of the poles which no longer have ropes with reels. As you can see in the video, they lower on the move, while, for raising, they rise into hats at a stop during the stop dwell.

Remember, this is not a trolleybus operation, it's a battery bus with recharge on the move - which of course doesn't stop everybody enthusiastically saying "look, trolleybuses have returned to Prague!" It is hoped to start the serious business of trialling articulated bus operation soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt8-KQWIaPI


I really like this idea and they could charge going down George street through a deep tunnel under Barangaroo and pick up people on the other side if they discover running the western metro there impossible.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby moa999 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:58 pm

I actually posted this on the Adelaide thread.. but this would be perfect for the O-Bahn.

Battery bus in the city and suburbs, then charging over the OBahn section. Even better replace the guide wheels with an automated guidance system (eg following white line)

Brisbane could do similar with selective charging in the core busway.

Harder in other cities without substantial dedicated bus only sections.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby simonl » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:54 pm

rogf24 wrote:TBH, I don't see hydrogen and batteries in competition to cancel each other out of the market. I think we'll see a mix of both technologies being used on urban buses, just as CNG and diesel co-exist. On coaches and longer trips, hydrogen will have a big advantage since it is powered by the lightest element in the universe, a lot lighter and compact than batteries. Hydrogen does require electrolysis to produce that doesn't mean that it's a poor alternative to batteries depending on what you want.

in what world is hydrogen compact? Isn't it the least dense substance known to man? Unless you're using a fuel cell, you still get NOx emissions and weight from a motor. Perhaps you are referring to fuel cell based hydrogen (as used on Apollo) then it may happen but I haven't heard that being affordable for motor applications. Not sure about the weight of a fuel cell either.

I'd be pretty surprised if hydrogen ever got into the mainstream market.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:27 pm

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