When visiting Shanghai last week we got some hands-on experience of electric buses. Our Chinese joint venture, Sunwin, offers a series of different electric buses: super capacitor, battery and hybrid buses.

Electric buses, with less demand for infrastructure, already today offer advantages to trams and trolley buses for low speed city traffic.

Sunwin has delivered around 160 battery buses to Shanghai. Most of them use the battery exchange system, where the buses are equipped with batteries lasting for 2-6 hours’ operation, depending on duty cycle and utilisation of air conditioner. The battery exchange is one possible option for buses with long working hours and harsh duty cycles.

Figure: The Battery exchange station can swap batteries on eight buses simultaneously

Figure: Battery exchange is now a routine, with a constant flow of buses entering and leaving the station

Another option is to equip the buses with batteries for a full workday. More batteries are required and the load capacity of the bus will decrease a bit, but on the other hand the charging can be conducted during the night rest.

Figure: Bus “tanking” electricity 3-4 hours over night

Which solution is better?

Depending on the requirements, different solutions will be favourable. In the end it is a matter of balancing the passenger capacity versus the electric range. In general, very slow city traffic is favourable for today’s electric buses.  Typically less than 1 kWh/km is used for the slow city operation, without air conditioner. The daily range will be 150-250 km, depending on required capacity.

Figure:  Morning breaks in Century Park

When travelling, some exercise is welcome. But, what is Jörgen Sjöstedt doing at seven o’clock in the morning? As the morning breaks the people enter the Century Park for some exercise, Chinese gymnastics or just a walk.

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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