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CONductive fast Charge system for Electric buses in Public Transport

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CONCEPT (CONductive fast Charge system for Electric buses in Public Transport)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-07-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The main focus of the project is the deployment of a conductive fast charging system for electric buses. The resulting product as developed and demonstrated by Heliox allows so-called Opportunity Charging, which means ultra-fast charging during the available time (within 2-7 minutes) at the natural turn-around location of the bus route. This innovative technology offers a breakthrough regarding the achievement of zero emission public transport and provides a competitive edge to the European bus manufacturing industry.
On account of the application of a fully automated contacting, the battery fast charging system from Heliox enables multiple “opportunity charges” at the bus pauses, therefore the capacity of the onboard battery pack of the bus can be substantially reduced. As a result, a significant increase of passenger capacity up to the regular level and cost reduction up to 60% on the battery pack is achieved, thus saving cost, weight and volume on the electric bus.
Opportunity Charging allows electric buses to run 24/7 without the need for a schedule change, avoiding a 5-6 hour overnight slow charge or depot charge. The impact of charging on the bus timetable is reduced to a minimum, and the electric bus daily operation can be optimized on every aspect.

Why is it important for society?
Cities suffer most from congestion, poor air quality and noise exposure. Urban transport is responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions from transport. The gradual phasing out of ‘conventionally fueled’ vehicles from the urban environment is a major contribution to significant reduction of oil dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and local air and noise pollution.
The development of conductive fast charging system for electric buses is important to society as it offers a solution for the pollution of traditional combustion engine. Diesel fueled buses are accountable for a large part of the emissions in cities, replacing them by electric buses will bring the emissions truly to zero, next to that gaining substantially in environmental noise. When charged with electricity harvested from renewable source, a true zero emission from “well to wheel” can be achieved.
Furthermore, the concept of conductive fast charge will help the European Dutch manufacturers to retain their competitive edge in the global market of bus manufacturing. As the major footprint of battery-cell manufacturers is firmly located in Asia, this implies a serious disadvantage for European bus manufacturers when competing with Asian bus manufactures, often implementing oversized batteries to achieve an acceptable driving range. The envisaged Conductive Charging System is will enable European Bus Manufacturers to counteract this, whilst at the same time building a lighter bus with more passenger capacity.

What are the overall objectives?
The overall goal of the project is to successfully launch a conductive ultra-fast charge system for buses. For that as well the fast charging system as the automated coupler system have been developed with performance beyond state of the art in energy efficiency, ease of installation and operation, high availability (up-time) and long lifetime. The industrialization of the overall system is guaranteed via an integrated approach in the development process and factory and certification involvement. The road to the market was prepared in an early phase by multiple and close market contacts and alignment. The system as proposed, tested and certified by Heliox facilitates opportunity charging, which extends the range of an (H)EV significantly.
The innovative Heliox Conductive Fast Charging System for E-buses was brought to the market in 2018, with pilot demonstrators installed in the Netherlands, and broad roll out internationally. The successful operation of the demonstrators confirms the feasibility of the product.
The specifications and architecture of the envisaged system have been identified. Progress according planning has been made on the development and implementation of the overall system. The work on the system integration, the procedure and planning for testing, validation and demonstration has been completed. Industrialisation of the system is as an integral part of the development process in order to ensure smooth and successful mass production. Market entry is being executed via several channel in the value chain, ensuring the right system at the right moment. In line with this the Business Plan has been monitored and updated accordingly.
The selected architecture enables connection of the system to as well the LV (Low Voltage) as the MV (Medium Voltage) electricity grid. The latter will have a strong positive impact on the overall system efficiency, size and cost, as well as on the available capacity of the electricity grid. The charging pole is strength resistant for the use of the system in the field under all operational circumstances. Next to that the new optimized cooling scheme of the system yields substantial increased lifetime and thus lower TCO, enabling faster and economical mass deployment. The effects of environment change on our society are already visible today and should therefore be addressed as swiftly as possible. One of the main EU challenges on urban mobility is to achieve essentially CO2 free city logistics in major urban centers by 2030, and for phasing out the use of fossil-fueled cars in cities by 2050. In this frame, the CONCEPT project attempts to minimize the impact of public transport on climate change by providing a suitable alternative to combustion engines. The main aim is to provide a charging system that can replace traditional combustion engines and that does not impact the performance of the busses. This is achieved by optimizing the charging along the routes and thereby decreasing the down time of busses.
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