Transport for London plans to test wireless inductive charging technology with four diesel hybrid buses. The Alexander Dennis Enviro400H E400 double-deckers will operate on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations, and will be fitted with special technology enabling on-board batteries to receive a charge at bus stands at either end of the route.
The buses have a diesel engine that will be used when the battery power on the bus is depleted, but TfL anticipates that the wireless top-ups will enable them to operate in pure electric mode for a significant period of the time they are in passenger service.
The trial is designed to establish whether the technology can stand up to the rigors of an intense urban environment. It will help TfL understand whether electric-only mode could be realistically achieved, and whether any modifications would need to be made before the technology could be rolled out more widely.
“We are continuing our assessment of new technology in the capital that can deliver genuine environmental benefits,” said Mike Weston, TfL’s Director of Buses. “This trial of extended-range diesel electric hybrid buses, utilising the latest inductive charging technology, could be a step closer to getting even cleaner double-deck buses on London’s streets.”
TfL is leading a consortium of suppliers that includes Alexander Dennis, which is delivering the vehicles, and IPT Technology, which is supplying the charging technology.
London operates Europe’s largest hybrid bus fleet, with 800 now on the streets, and more than 1,700 scheduled to be in service by 2017, representing 20% of the total bus fleet. The capital is also testing six pure electric single-deck buses, with two more expected to enter service later this year.