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Fraunhofer’s New Overhead Electric Bus Fast-Charging Technology Outperforming Expectations

Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI — along with various partners, including the EDDA Bus project — somewhat recently revealed a new overhead fast-charging solution for electric buses that promises to provide a new path to all-electric public transportation.

The new technology (charging stations, as well as modified buses) has been undergoing operational testing in the German city of Dresden since last November — and has, so far, been exceeding expectations.

Fraunhofer electric bus overhead charging

The new technology is composed, essentially, of 4 key components — one, a charging station with particularly high charging capacities; two, modified batteries well suited for high power capacities; three, modified power electronics; and, four, a new contact system mounted on the top of the bus, which was designed by Fraunhofer IVI with aid from partners.

A spokesperson for Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IV, Dr Thoralf Knote, commented: “We don’t want to burden drivers with extra tasks. All drivers have to do is position the bus beneath the contact hood at the charging station. While doing so, they can use a marker at the edge of the curbstone for orientation. An acoustic signal assists drivers when positioning the bus at the stop. To ensure some leeway, the contact head adjusts itself on a slide rail and then docks with the contact hood. The charging process begins automatically. During charging, drivers can follow the battery’s charge status on a display. If required, the charging process can also be interrupted.”


As mentioned above, testing so far has gone quite well, with expectations being exceeded.

“Once again in this second phase, the results have exceeded our expectations. The average energy consumption is 1.19 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per kilometer – it should be noted here, however, that the bus is not heated electrically, but using engine-independent diesel heating. Recharging takes less than 6.5 minutes.”

Neat system. I haven’t been able to find any clear information on the possible economics of the technology, though, it should be noted. So how much utility such an approach has is still an open question — that said, how expensive could such a system really run?

Image Credit: Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IV

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


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