New OppCharge system is installed in Gothenburg as part of bus-charging pilot
Late in October, ABB announced the successful installation of a new DC fast charging system for a new fleet of Volvo electric buses.
The charging station was installed at a bus depot in Arendal, Gothenburg, and is a joint reference project for ABB and Volvo Buses. According to the two firms, the aim of co-operative project is to “jointly develop and commercialize electric buses and hybrid electric buses that are equipped with DC fast charging systems that are based on open standards.”
The ABB Heavy Vehicle Charger (HVC) is an automated, 450kW system which charges the vehicle batteries via a rail system mounted on top of the bus. The idea is that these systems are placed at the end of routes, or in places where the bus must stop for several minutes between timetables, allowing drivers to quickly and easily recharge when convenient – a concept the two have dubbed “Opportunity Charging” or OppCharge.
The bus simply pulls up and the charger is engaged automatically. According to the companies, this takes around 3-6 minutes, and although it is unlikely that this will provide a full battery charge, multiple stops during a daily run should allow the bus to stay running until it can be fully charged overnight. ABB outlines more in the video below.
An additional benefit is that the system has been built with open standards, effectively allowing it to be used with all electric bus models.
“We are pleased to take part and contribute to sustainable and cost-efficient transportation solutions, and at the same time satisfy the continually growing need cities have for such transportation. Cutting the costs and reducing the risks associated with switching to electric vehicles are aspects that we, together with Volvo, want to offer the market and society. OppCharge, which creates an open interface for both buses and charging stations, is also expected to become a standard for the future,” said Robert Larsson, ABB’s head of discrete automation and motion in Sweden.
Volvo Bus’ president Håkan Agnevall was similarly optimistic on the prospects of the system for Europe, stating that: “With OppCharge, European cities can rest assured that electric buses and charging infrastructure from different manufacturers are compatible with each other and that lock-in effects can be avoided. This creates the conditions needed for an accelerated transition to electric bus systems in cities.”