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

One thought on “Fraunhofer’s New Overhead Electric Bus Fast-Charging Technology Outperforming Expectations

  1. The reason why you will many tests with electrical buses is the ZeEUS program of the EU that is supporting development of electrical buses. Not far from Dresden in the Czech Republic local manufacturer of trolley buses Skoda is testing it’s own system and you can find more prototypes around Europe. I think you wrote about the Swedish Experiment. All of the being part of ZeEUS.

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