Cleantech Inn

Energy, Transport: Opbrid

Opbrid

The Opbrid High Power Charging Station is the elegant, cost-effective way to charge your bus, truck, train or tram at powers up to 1MW so your vehicle is on the road, not sitting still.

In 2016, Opbrid was acquired by its long time partner Furrer+Frey AG, Bern Switzerland. This acquisition strengthens their extensive product portfolio in rail, and extends their reach to the bus and truck markets.

Opbrid offers charging systems for buses in a stand alone installation for end station charging or opportunity charging to utilities, public transport operators and authorities. The all-in-one opportunity charging station reduces installation cost and footprint, making electric bus lines more feasible for city planners.

By placing the Opbrid Bůsbaar fast charging station at one or both ends of a bus route, a hybrid or electric bus can run all day on electricity, charged each time it reaches the end of its route. Charging during the day allows the use of smaller, lighter, less expensive batteries than buses that only charge at night. This means less battery cost, less weight, and more room inside the bus. Or, a hybrid bus can be converted to fully electrical running, yet keeping the advantage of a backup diesel generator.

Besides the long term benefits of less weight and more room, the initial added cost of the Opbrid Bůsbaar per bus is more than offset by the reduction in batteries. The Bůsbaar roadside charger can be shared by up to 8 buses, making the cost per bus of the charging station very low.

Fast Charged Hybrid Electric Buses

While current diesel-electric hybrid buses are still 100% diesel, they just get slightly better mileage (10 – 30%). With the Opbrid Busbaar rapid charging system, this 100% diesel can be reduced to 0 – 30% diesel, 70 – 100% electricity depending on the route, schedule and other factors. Adding fast charging to a hybrid bus dramatically improves its value proposition by providing a flexible, inexpensive pathway to partial or full electrical operation.

One of the biggest advantages of a fast charged hybrid bus versus full battery electric bus is the on-board backup diesel generator. For example, if there is a power shortage or traffic jam, the bus can switch over automatically to using the backup generator and continue running on diesel or biofuels indefinitely. This additional source of power gives the system the reliability and confidence of diesel in all weather, traffic, and operating conditions, but allowing all-electric operation during typical driving.

Fast Charged Battery Electric Buses

With fast charging, it is possible to reduce the weight and size of the battery pack dramatically while simultaneously increasing the operating range. Instead of using a 300 or 400kWh battery pack, a 50 or 100kWh pack can be used instead. This has major benefits in reducing the bus weight, and providing more room inside the bus for passengers.

Example: You have an electric bus with 50kWh of batteries. Also, you have an average layover time of about 10% for schedule synchronization and operator breaks. If this layover time is used for fast charging at 250kW, then you can add about 350kWh of power during a 15 hour day, with no impact on your schedule. This means you now have an effective battery size of 350kWh, more than enough to run the entire day, even with full air conditioning or heating. The bus never has to return to the depot for charging or battery swapping, plus numerous short fast charges are easier on the battery than a single long fast charge midway through the day.

Efficient urban mobility is of vital importance in a sustainable society. The challenge is to provide economical feasible transport solutions while being independent of fossil resources.

With the availability of renewable electric power, electrical buses meets the demands for flexible personal mobility as well as being long term sustainable. Opbrid offers an attractive solution requiring smaller on-board batteries and less charging stations, making way for rapid deployment of electrical bus fleets.

Mikael Molin
Cleantech Inn Sweden
July 2, 2015

 

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