Viennese electric buses charge from existing overhead wires

Many cities around the world are experimenting with electric buses. A system for quickly recharging along the route is a highly desirable feature, as it allows batteries to be smaller. Systems currently being tested in Geneva and Sweden use an automated arm on top of the bus that connects to an overhead flash charger.

In Vienna, transit officials are taking a different approach.  The New York Times reports that Austria’s stately capital has deployed 12 40-passenger electric buses that can recharge using the overhead cables that power existing tram lines. This approach promises to be far cheaper and easier to implement than installing a new form of charging technology. 

The buses partly recharge in 10-15 minutes between runs at existing tram stations, using a standard roof-mounted pantograph. At night, the batteries get a full recharge at the bus depot.

The new buses are made by Rampini, of Perugia, Italy, and use technology provided by Siemens, which says it is negotiating with several other cities in Europe and South America to install similar systems.

The electric buses cost 400,000 euros ($519,000) each, about double the cost of a comparable diesel bus, but are expected to deliver savings of 25-35 percent per year. Transport official Anna Reich told the Times that cost was not the only consideration. “Vienna has the fifth largest tram infrastructure in the world. We wanted to use the infrastructure we already have,” she said. “We always wanted to go greener. We wanted to implement something new and help the technology improve.”

The European Commission has set a goal for member states to reduce transportation emissions by 60 percent by 2050.


Source: New York Times

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