New Trolleybus systemsIn comparison with the installation of battery bus systems with stationary charging, there are cost advantages of using trolleybus charging; especially operationally where charging happens in-motion. Savings are made because of reduced fleet size, battery capacity and driver strength. While unit costs for charging stations and vehicles are similar between BEB (battery electric bus) and BOB (battery overhead bus) systems, capital investment is reduced for trolleybus systems because of the avoidance of any additional charging time and thus loss of availability that must be made up to provide an equivalent service.
Electrification capital costs
Dynamic charging of electric buses
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Net present value comparison between BEB (battery electric bus) and BOB (battery overhead bus) systems. The varables are considerable, but this example assumes 30% of the BOB system is wired. Adapted from Dynamic charging of electric buses by Mikołaj Bartłomiejczyk.
Solingen is committed to converting its extensive trolleybus network to a BOB system that will enable conversion of all diesel routes, removal of 'special works' overhead and become a smart grid to use photovoltaics, stationary staorage and charge EVs. Route 695 now uses wiring on 30+% of its length. Christian Marquordt
System Design OptionsBalances need to be assessed between battery sizes and overhead length depending on topography, timetable demands and costs. Where Praha is using 20-30% overhead length, Berlin is considering 50-65% a better option for their new systems. More overhead reduces battery needs but increases overhead costs, but as overhead lasts for 30-50 years and batteries perhaps 5, the equation is not straight-forward. Higher intensity of service will favour overhead and design can 'bunch' routes to maximise use, but amenity value also needs to considered. Simulation software has been developed using AI to understand power profiles and applied to particular system locations that can then incorporate costings. Flow chart of the simulation program for a Smart Trolleybus Network.
Institute of Power System Engineering, Wuppertal University The reduction in battery sizing is available on dynamic in-motion charging systems. Recuperation of braking energy is particuarly effective. Higher power availability in the overhead grid lowers charging time, while installing overhead on slower sections improves availabilty. UITP Vehicle cost comparison, bob=battery overhead bus, beb-oc=battery electric bus:opportunity charging, beb-onc=battery electric bus:overnight charging, fc=fuel cell bus, based on 18m vehicles. Fabian Bergk et al. Potential of In-Motion Charging Buses for the Electrification of Urban Bus Lines. Costs per year against passenger capacity per hour for 18m vehicles. 24m vehicles with 2500 passengers per hour have lower costs on high capacity routes and, because of battery limitations, have only been shown to be practical as IMC trolleybuses. Fabian Bergk et al. Potential of In-Motion Charging Buses for the Electrification of Urban Bus Lines.
Opportunity charging can be used on BOB systems - Stadtwerke Solingen has installed one at the Abteiweg terminus of route 695. Christian Marquordt
Photovoltaics power the Marakesh IMC trolleybus system, integrated into its Smart Grid. Carbon offsets, avoided air pollution costs, lowering PV prices and subsidies offer additional financial benefits. Isofoton.es
Because of technological problems in preparing to electrify its bus fleet by 2030 using battery buses, Berlin BVG has developed plans for a bi-articulated IMC trolleybus network. The first route would be the 32 in Spandau with 50-65% wired for charging.
The Serious ContenderIn summary, using state-of-the-art in-motion trolleybus charging technology provides the most cost effective and green solution for electrifying urban street transport. Not only are the economics convincing but the operational advantages have considerable impacts on total life cycle costs, especially when using 24m trolleybuses on networks that include dedicated roadways. With no evidence of quantum leaps in battery chemistry and problematical implementation of opportunity charging on large networks, IMC trolleybus technology represents the best public transport option to reduce street level air pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
References -E-bus 2020 In Motion Charging - HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, 2020
In Motion Charging - Innovative Trolleybus, Gunter Mackinger et al., UITP Knowledge Brief, 2019
Dynamic Charging of Electric Buses, Mikołaj Bartłomiejczyk, Gdansk University of Technology, 2018
Kiepe Electric IMC systems, Seattle, San Francisco, Dayton, Milan, Modena, Rimini, Solingen, Linz, Esslingen, Arnhem, Zurich etc.
Potential of In-Motion Charging Buses for the Electrification of Urban Bus Lines, Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering, vol.6, no. 4, 2016
Energy Saving Potential of a Battery-Assisted Fleet of Trollybuses, Andreas Ritter et al. Dept. of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 2016
Analysis of limiting factors of battery assisted trolleybuses, Dobroslav Grygar et al, 13th International Scientific Conference on Sustainable, Modern and Safe Transport, 2019
Potential Application of Solar Energy Systems for Electrified Urban Transportation Systems, Mikołaj Bartłomiejczyk, Gdansk University of Technology, 2018
More details of worldwide Tbus developments are here