The Anonymous Widower

Daimler Unveils Electric Bus With 441 kWh Solid-State Battery Pack

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on electrek.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Daimler has unveiled an electric bus equipped with a solid-state battery pack — probably becoming the first planned production EV with a solid-state battery.

What is meant by solid-state battery, is not stated.

But at 441 kWh it is not a small battery!

This article on the Daimler Global Media Site gives these extra details.

In general, vehicles with solid-state batteries as standard were not expected until the middle of this decade. Mercedes-Benz is faster: the new eCitaro G is the first series production city bus in its category anywhere in the world to be equipped with solid-state batteries. They have a very high energy density which is around 25 percent greater than the coming generation of traditional lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolyte. The result is an impressive energy content of 441 kWh for the new eCitaro G. This battery technology is also free of the chemical element cobalt and therefore especially environmentally friendly in the manufacture of the components.

The long life of the solid-state batteries is particularly striking. Therefore, when purchasing an eCitaro with solid-state batteries, a basic guarantee for the high-voltage battery for up to 10 years or up to 280 MWh energy throughput per battery pack is standard.

They sound impressive.

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , | 5 Comments

Solving The Problem With Electric Bus Design

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

The article opens with this paragraph.

A number of European cities have committed to securing only zero-emission buses by 2025. However, to achieve this objective, manufacturers must make bold design choices, radically changing bus componentry, systems, and bodywork. Here, it looks at the debate for greater electric bus design standardization.

Standardisation is one thing, but the article doesn’t talk about the major problem with electric bus design – For many countries like the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany, where there are lots of double-decker or articulated high-capacity buses, battery electric buses are just not big enough.

Battery-electric buses are also generally not big enough to compete with the latest designs of tram and metro systems.

These pictures show the Chinese double-deck electric double-deck buses, that ran in London.

Half of the downstairs was take up by batteries.

Where are they now?

The Belgian firm; Van Hool have a product called Exquicity. This video shows them working in Pau in France.

But these buses are powered by hydrogen.

Similar buses running in Belfast are diesel-electric.

In both the Pau and Belfast applications, I wonderwhy they didn’t use trolley-bus versions of the WxquiCity or conventional trams.

Conclusion

Until we get more efficient battery storage, electric buses will have difficulty competing economically in the high-capacity bus sector.

August 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 8 Comments

Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 911 of Rail Magazine.

This is the opening paragraph.

On July 28, a South Western Railway train ran along the Fawley Branch Line. to make the case for reopening to passenger services after a 54-year gap.

On board were the Rail Minister; Chris Heaton-Harris, Network Rail Chairman; Sir Peter Hendy, Managing Director of South Western Railway; Mark Hopwood and Lord Montagu of Beulieu.

The article reports the trip and fills in more of the details, that make more sense of my sketchy post called Reintroduction Of Passenger Rail Services On The Waterside Line.

These are some points from the article.

The Infrastructure Needs Updating

This is a quote from the article.

The route has a line speed of 30 mph, with lower speed restrictions at level crossings, some of which are still hand-operated. Semaphore signals operated from by mechanical levers from Marchwood remain in use. A token is given to the driver to allow the train to run towards Fawley. All this would require updating.

Elsewhere the article says there are ten level crossings.

Housing Is The Game Changer

This is another quote from the article.

The big change is urban sprawl. In the half century since passenger services ended, housing estates for thousands of people have been built alongside the line. mostly for commuters into Southampton and the surrounding conurbation.

Up to 5,000 further new homes are planned, including an all-new small town on the site of the former Fawley power station on the southern tip of Southampton Water. Planning permission for at least 1,300 homes was granted the very evening before the Fawley train ran.

This Google Map shows the the town of Hythe and the giant Fawley Refinery.

Note.

  1. Hythe is towards the top of the map on Southampton Water.
  2. The refinery is the large beige blob in the middle on Southampton Water.
  3. The Fawley Branch runs close to the water and finishes inside the secure fence of the refinery.
  4. There will be stations at Marchwood, Hythe Town and Hythe & Fawley Parkway.
  5. The parkway station will be to the North of the refinery.
  6. The major housing site is on the former Fawley power station site, which is the Southernmost beige blob.
  7. The blue dot towards the West indicates the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

It looks to me, that an electric shuttle bus between Hythe & Fawley Parkway, Beaulieu and the various housing sites would be a good idea.

The Cost Of The Scheme

This is another quote from the article.

The campaign to open the line has been spearheaded by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership.

Chairman Nick Farthing says:

“For £45m, you get the track, signalling and level crossings sorted. You get a 60 mph railway with three stations = upgrading Marchwood, a new station for Hythe, and Fawley park-and-ride (just beyond Holbury, where Hardley Halt used to be).

“Three Rivers commissioned a level crossing study from Network Rail, so we know what has to be done. We’ve used a rail-approved contractor to work out how much the three stations will cost.

Three Rivers have also identified some affordable diesel rolling stock.

South Western Railway’s Innovative Train Plan

This is another quote from the article.

However, SWR’s Mark Hopwood favours a much bolder plan. “We’d have to take a decision, once we knew the line was going ahead. But my personal belief is that we should be looking for a modern environmentally-friendly train that can use third-rail electricity between Southampton and Totton and maybe operate on batteries down the branch line.”

Pressed on whether that would mean Vivarail-converted former-London Underground stock, Hopwood ads. “It could be. Or it could be a conversion of our own Class 456, which will be replaced by new rolling stock very shortly. But I don’t think this is the time to use old diesels.

Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains discusses this conversion in detail.

Conclusion

This plan seems to be coming together strongly.

All the partners like Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership, Network Rail, South Western Railway and other local interests seem to be acting together and very professionally.

 

 

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Diesel Buses To Be Phased Out Within 15 Years To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

Hallelujah!

Should be heavy trucks, next!

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Meet The Futuristic-Looking Electric Arrival Bus

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Microsoft News.

The Arrival Bus is by the same company, who are building electric vans for UPS, that I wrote about in UK Electric Van Maker Arrival Secures £340m Order From UPS.

This is a video of the prototype under test.

This article on CNET is entitled Arrival’s Electric Bus Is Designed For Coronavirus-Era Social Distancing and it contains this paragraph.

The British startup company, which focuses on smart electric vehicles, on Wednesday debuted the Arrival Bus, pitched as just the bus for social distancing. That’s because the interior of the bus is customizable, with removable seats, so you can create additional space between passengers. It’s a pretty novel way to increase or decrease seats to meet reopening guidelines

If it works, knowing Sod’s Law, it will probably be rarely used, as someone will come up with an affordable vaccine, that’s bulletproof!

As we’ve also had an electric bus from Norfolk, that I wrote about in Equipmake Opens New Electric Bus Factory In Snetterton, there will be several players helping to decarbonise the bus industry.

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Cheesecake Energy Receives Investment From The University Of Nottingham

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on NewsAnyway.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cheesecake Energy Limited (CEL) today announced it has received investment from the University of Nottingham to support UK-wide pilot programmes for the company’s energy storage solution.

Thse two paragraphs are a brief description of the company, their technology and what they do.

Cheesecake Energy Limited is a fast-growing startup developing energy storage at 30-40% lower cost than the current market leader, lithium ion batteries. Its system uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environmental impact. 

Founded in 2016, the company has already established itself within the Nottingham, and wider East Midlands energy ecosystem — having secured initial interest from local councils and bus services for pilot programmes. The company is currently designing a 150 kW / 750 kWh prototype system for completion in Q4 2020 which will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

This is the home page of their web site, which proudly announces.

The Greenest Battery In The World

We’ll see and hear that slogan many times in the next few years.

A few of my thoughts on the company.

Cheesecake Energy’s Technology

Cheesecake Energy says it uses compressed air and thermal energy storage to achieve high efficiency, long lifetime and dramatically lower environment impact.

Three other companies also use or may use compressed air to store energy.

As Cheesecake appear to be using a thermal energy storage, have they found a unique way to create another type of compressed air storage?

Battery Sizes

How do the sizes of the three companies batteries compare?

  • Cheesecake Energy prototype – 150 kW – 750 kWh – five hours
  • Form Energy for Great River Energy – 1MW – 150 MWh – 150 hours
  • Highview Power for Vermont – 50MW – 400 MWh – 8 hours
  • Hydrostor for South Australia – 50+MW – 4-24+ hours

The Cheesecake Energy prototype is the smallest battery, but Highview Power built a 750 KWh prototype before scaling up.

Note.

  1. The first figure is the maximum power output of the battery.
  2. The second figure is the capacity of the battery.
  3. The third figure is the maximum delivery time on full power.
  4. The capacity for Hydrostor wasn’t given.

The figures are nicely spread out, which leas me to think, that depending on your power needs, a compressed air battery can be built to satisfy them.

Charging Electric Buses

Buses like this Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV electric bus are increasingly seen in the UK.

And they all need to be charged!

Cheesecake Energy say that their prototype will be deployed with a local bus depot for charging of electric buses using renewable energy.

  • An electric bus depot should be a good test and demonstration of the capabilities of their battery and its technology.
  • Note that according to this data sheet of an Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV, which is a typical single-decker electric bus, the bus is charged by BYD dual plug 2×40kW AC charging, which gives the bus a range of up to 160 miles.
  • With a 150 kW output could Cheesecake’s prototype charge two buses at the same time and several buses during a working day?
  • Would DC charging as used by Vivarail’s charging system for trains be an alternative?

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good marketing skills.

I do wonder if this size of charger could make the finances of electric buses more favourable.

Suppose, a bus company had a fleet of up to a dozen diesel single-decker buses running services around a city or large town.

  • How much would they spend on electricity, if they replaced these buses with electric ones?
  • Would being able to use cheaper overnight energy to charge buses in the day, be more affordable?
  • Would electric buses run from renewable electricity attract passengers to the services?

These arguments for electric buses would also apply for a company running fleets of vans and small trucks.

To me, it looks like Cheesecake are showing good engineering/marketing skills, by designing a product that fits several markets.

 

 

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Equipmake Opens New Electric Bus Factory In Snetterton

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Equipmake.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Expert electrification company, Equipmake, has opened a brand-new factory in Snetterton, Norfolk, which will design and manufacture its fully-integrated electric bus chassis for an increasingly international customer base.

This paragraph sums up their marketing philosophy for their bus chassis.

Equipmake’s innovative electric bus chassis allows any bus coachbuilder to become a full electric bus manufacturer almost overnight. Such is the demand from bus makers wishing to go zero emissions that Equipmake has forged partnerships with companies in Brazil, Argentina and India and grown its UK staff from 15 employees to 52 in a little over two years.

Equipmake certainly seem to be doing something right.

  • They make their own electric motors.
  • They claim to make the world’s most power dense electric motors.

Perhaps, it’s all down to good design?

This paragraph from the press release gives more details of the bus chassis.

Thanks to efficient management of its onboard heating and cooling system, the bus – a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers – will have enough electric range for one day’s running without the need for charging. To charge the vehicle, the operator simply needs access to a standard three-phase supply, which will fully charge it in around five hours.

That seems impressive to me!

 

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Riding On A Battery-Electric Double-Deck Bus

This morning I rode on a battery-electric double-deck bus.

Some of these buses are russing on route 98 between Holborn and Willesden Garage, which includes a run down Oxford Street.

There’s more on the buses in this page on the Metroline web site.

I went upstairs and the experience was little different to that of a normal hybrid bus.

My Thoughts

My thoughts in various areas.

Design

It is a well-designed bus, that is easy to use for this seventy-year-old.

Passenger Experience

Travelling along Oxford Street, the passenger experience was equal to that of a New Routemaster, without the occasional low noise of the engine.

 

Performance Of The Bus

As we proceeded along Oxford Street, the performance of the bus, was very much in line with current hybrid buses.

The bus wasn’t full on the upper deck, but I suspect that the total weight of the passengers is very much lower than the weight of the battery, so this might mean that a full bus performs well compared with an empty bus.

Limited Space On The Lower Deck

There is one obvious problem and that is that the size of the battery reduces the number of seats downstairs.

As I said earlier, I doubt the weight of the passengers is a problem, but the available space, where they sit and stand could be.

Economics Of The Bus

The bus will obviously be expensive to purchase and to run, as batteries are expensive and need to be replaced every few years.

Coupled with the fact that capacity is smaller than current hybrid buses, which probably means more buses are needed to perform the required service, the economics of the buses may not be suitable for many routes.

I also wonder, if a battery-electric double-deck bus has better economics than a single-deck bus, as the extra weight of the top deck and the extra passengers is small compared to the weight of the battery.

But the economics will get better with improved battery technology.

The Marketing Advantages

BYD and Metroline could be big winners here, as corporate videos and marketing material showing buses in Central London, can’t be a bad thing!

The Competition From Diesel Hybrid Buses

I believe that one competitor to the battery-electric bus will be the next generation of diesel hybrid buses.

Take the current modern hybrid buses like a New Routemaster or any other hybrid bus built in the last couple of years. These have a battery that can power the bus for perhaps a couple of miles.

As the battery is smaller, it can be squeezed into an unlikely space. On a New Routemaster, the diesel engine is under the back stairs and the battery is under the front stairs.

A technique called geo-fencing can be retro-fitted, which forbids the use of the buses diesel engine in sensitive areas, based on GPS technology.

So a route like London’s route 98 could work through the ULEZ on battery power and charge the battery between Edware Road station and Willesden Garage.

The Competition From Hydrogen Hybrid Buses

This will surely be similar to that from diesel hybrid buses.

  • Battery size will probably be as for a diesel hybrid bus.
  • As hydrogen doesn’t give out noxious emissions, this will be an advantage and you won’t need the geo-fencing.
  • But you will need to store the hydrogen.

As hydrogen technology improves, I feel that the hydrogen hybrid bus could become a formidable competitor.

The Competition From Converting Old Diesel Buses To Diesel Hybrid Buses

I talked about this in Arriva London Engineering Assists In Trial To Turn Older Diesel Engine Powered Buses Green.

Never underestimate good engineers with a good idea, that has a good financial payback.

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of competition between the various technologies and the passengers, bus operators, London and London’s air will be big winners.

As all of this technology can be applied anywhere, other parts of the UK will benefit.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment