ABB launches fast charging solution for public buses

ABB has launched an automated fast charging system which can solve one of the main problems facing urban electric bus adoption – long charging times for short driving ranges.

With its automated rooftop connection and a typical charge time of four to six minutes, the system can be integrated into existing bus lines by installing fast chargers at end points, terminals, depots and/or intermediate stops. ABB’s fast-charging system is a practical solution built on international standards, assuring safety, regulatory compliance and wide automotive industry support. These ingredients are said to allow the solution to work safely in any bus line and with any electric bus with the correct rooftop interface.

The first public project using this technology will be the integration of Volvo busses and four ABB automatic e-bus chargers into existing lines of the Luxembourg public transport system. Volvo’s new electric hybrid bus is claimed to reduce fuel consumption by 75% compared to conventional diesel buses, which improves sustainability performance as well as lowering operating costs.

“Mature and emerging markets alike are making substantial urban e-mobility investments to reduce congestion and the environmental burden of many more commuters,” said Pekka Tiitinen, president of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “ABB’s Next Level growth strategy is built around opportunities in such rapidly expanding markets, supported by a strong technology and service portfolio.”

ABB’s automated fast-charging solution is based on the ‘pantograph’ - a proven mechanical concept for linking power supplies to trains, trams and buses. When a bus arrives at the charging stop, wireless communication will be established between bus and charger and a special inverted pantograph will come down automatically. When all safety checks are performed, the system will provide the bus with a powerful fast recharge.

The modular design, offering charging power of 150, 300 or 450kW, is claimed to provide any city bus with enough energy in a few minutes to run its inner-city route continuously throughout the whole day.