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UK city to add wirelessly charged electric buses to fleet

The city of Milton Keynes in the UK will replace the diesel buses on one route with eight electric buses that will use wireless charging. The trial will begin in summer 2013.


The city of Milton Keynes in the UK has become the latest to plan a deployment of electric buses. The modernist “forest city” will replace the diesel buses on one route with eight electric buses that will use wireless charging. The route currently transports more than 775,000 passengers a year over a total of 450,000 miles. Electrification is expected to remove approximately 500 tons of tailpipe CO2 emissions per year, and reduce running costs by between £12,000 and £15,000 per year.

The trial, which will begin in summer 2013, will be managed by a joint venture called MBK Arup Sustainable Projects, led by a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Europe. The goal is to use the data collected to demonstrate the economic viability of low-carbon public transport.

The buses will charge when power transmitted from a primary coil buried in the road is picked up by a secondary coil on the bus. 10 minutes parked over a coil will replenish two thirds of the energy consumed by the bus’s route. The primary coils will be placed at three points on the bus route, and the buses will charge in the time scheduled for driver breaks at the end of the route.

John Miles of Arup said, “What makes the Milton Keynes project different to other electric bus schemes is the wireless charging system. The Milton Keynes buses will be able to cover a heavily-used urban route because they are able to charge for 10 minutes at the beginning and end of each cycle without interrupting the timetable. This means that for the first time, an electric bus will effectively be able to do everything a diesel bus can do, which is a significant step forwards to a cleaner, quieter, public transport system.”

Noriaki Sakamoto, Managing Director, Mitsui & Co. Europe, said, “Since the withdrawal of the subsidy for diesel buses, we can see that the cost of diesel bus operations will rise significantly. This, coupled with the anticipated reduction in the cost of batteries and electric drive systems for buses, as well as the introduction of wirelessly charging during the day now means that the electric bus is now a real contender in the future of public transport. Innovation and trials are urgently needed to find a new way forward and Mitsui, as a business enabler, is happy to back this innovative initiative because we can see the long-term benefit for the community as well as for Mitsui.”


Source: Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc
Image: ReeSaunders

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