ElekBu 2016


I’m sitting at the airport on my way from this year’s electric bus conference, ElekBu 2016, in Berlin. Professor Müller-Hellman was moderating the seminars and the debates and he has been the pro-motor since the start 7 years ago .

This year two secretaries of the state, Rainer Bomba and Jochen Flasbarth honored us with their visits. There is a strong interest for electrical buses in Germany and the federal government is clear on their intention to support the introduction of electric buses in Germany.

For me it was the 5th time, after two years interruption.

We displayed the charging rails in the Volvo stand. They are mounted on the roof top. A screen displayed the facts and function of the opportunity charging concept.


Picture: Opportunity charging rails and display at the Volvo stand in Berlin.


Picture: Volvo Electric Bus, from the Gothenburg ElectriCity project, on display in Berlin.

On my way to the conference I reinvented a diagram I have been using for a while, to explain how opportunity charging supports long operational hours and high daily mileage. The new feature shows how increased average speed has a direct impact on the life time fuel saving.

Cities that are determined to implement electric buses and that have recognized the advantage of opportunity charging refers to the following advantages: high passenger capacity,  long workdays and short nigh stops and distributed power outtake from the grid (geographically and over time).


Picture: Opportunity charging supports long daily mileage and long workdays. The life time fuel saving is enhanced by electrification of the buses with the highest utilization.

Initially, many cities think of electrical buses in the slowest and most congested routes of the city. Those routes are important for their high visibility and for the high impact on local emissions and noise in the city center.

However, as evident from the diagram above there are strong benefits of increasing the speed of the route, when it comes to fuel savings. The electrification is a qualifier for increasing the priority of the buses in the city, to the benefit of the travelers. By introducing separate lanes, signal priority or dedicated tunnels or bridges the speed can be increased and the economy is improved, a lot.

An opportunity charged bus can increases the average speed and grow with the traffic planning ambitions of the public transport authorities.


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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