The Anonymous Widower

Wright Bus Embraces Ultracapacitors

This press release from Skeleton Technologies is entitled Graphene-Based Ultracapacitors Boost Double and Single Decker-Buses Through Low Emission Zones by Reducing Fuel Consumption.

This is said.

The integration of graphene-based ultracapacitors into test WrightBus double deck buses enables a 36% fuel saving compared to a UK based EuroVI diesel bus baseline. It also adds at least another 3 passengers to the capacity of these buses compared to a lithium battery-based hybrid equivalent.

I have a feeling that graphene-based ultracapacitors will give lithium batteries a very good kicking.





November 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater

I like the New Routemaster and I use them regularly as five of the routes running close to my house use the buses.

So when I saw that Wright SRM buses, which are based on the New Routemaster, were being trialled on Route 183, I had to take a ride.

I went between Golders Green and Kenton stations.

In my view the bus has three major design faults compared to the New Routemaster.

The Floor Is No Longer Flat

The New Routemaster has a completely flat floor, whereas this bus doesn’t.

I suspect that this is because the bus is based on a standard Volvo B5LH chassis to save money, whereas the New Routemaster used a custom design.

Front Entry Only

One of the great features of the New Routemaster is that you can get in at any door, as there are card readers on all doors.

Drivers take advantage of this and often seem to stop the bus, so passengers can board quickly.

This must mean that they keep to the timetable better!

The Bus Is Rather Gloomy Inside

I sat towards the back, as I often do on New Routemasters, but the bus is so gloomy, as there is no windows facing to the rear.


I very much feel that someone needs to design a better bus chassis, as the standard Volvo chassis means that a flat floor and a light and airy interior, which are so important in my view, seem to be impossible.

Wrightbus can do a lot better.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Could IPEMU Trains Use KERS?

I have just read this article on The Business Desk, which is entitled Torotrak’s bus KERS system gets all-clear. The article starts like this.

Torotrak, a developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology in vehicles, and Wrightbus are celebrating the successful completion of the in-service trial of the Flybrid mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) for buses.

The trial was conducted with Arriva, one of the largest bus operators in the UK.

It must have been successful, as other reports say Torotrak shares have risen and the company is expected to start production of the Flybrid KERS in 2016.

I’m probably not the only engineer, who’s wondering, whether the technology can have applications with trains.

My one regret is that I only bought a thousand pounds worth of shares in the company.

January 5, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Other Train, Tram And Tram-Train Manufacturers And IPEMUs

The Aventra IPEMU is a Bombardier product, but I can’t see anything about using batteries in a train being patentable.

In the future we will see a range of energy storage devices based on all sorts of technology for transport applications. Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems describes the technology in Wikipedia

To deliver energy saving in transport, they need to be installed with regenerative braking and some clever control systems.

They are best generally described as kinetic energy recovery systems or KERS.

Applications will include.

  • Passenger Cars  – A sexy image would sell top-of-the-range hybrid and electric cars.
  • Buses – Hybrid and electric buses in cities are the way forward and they’ll need intelligent energy storage.
  • Trucks, Vans and other Commercial Vehicles – Why not, if it makes them more attractive to operators and makes vehicles more environmentally friendly?
  • Trams, Trains and Tram-Trains – The Aventra IPEMU is just the first.

Looking at KERS in motor sport and Formula One in particular, in Wikipedia, there are several ideas, some of which are based on batteries and others on mechanical systems like flywheels.

As buses, trams, trains and tram-trains tend to be large vehicles with plenty of available space, where quite a large KERS can be tucked away, it is probably not the demanding weight-sensitive application of say motor sport or passenger cars.

So I don’t see any reason why a train or bus manufacturer like Alstom, Hitachi, Siemens or Wrightbus will not fit KERS.

Wrightbus are mentioned in this press release from Torotrak entitled FUEL SAVING KINETIC RECOVERY SYSTEM PROJECT READY FOR NEXT PHASE. This is the first paragraph.

Wrightbus have confirmed that an innovative Kinetic Recovery System (KERS) project, developed in a collaborative partnership and partially funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is in full service trials with project partner Arriva.

Overall, this project looks very like the partnership that created the IPEMU demonstrator to prove the technology for trains, as it involves a bus manufacturer, a couple of technology or engineering companies, a transport operator and funding from the Government.

Incidentally, Torotrak is a British company with links to BAe Systems.

According to the press release the prototype bus is in service in Gillingham in Kent.

I can’t believe that the other train manufacturers are not looking seriously at KERS.

It is interesting to look at this article from Bus and Coach, which describes the Wrightbus project.

It is complicated mechanical setup, compared to installing KERS in an all-electric tram, train or tram-train, where it is a matter of designing an intelligent control system to link.

  • Overhead electric supply at 25 kVAC or 750 VDC
  • Third rail supply at 750 VDC
  • Traction motors
  • KERS
  • On-board electrical systems like air-con, lights and passenger displays

The control system would balance the sources and needs according to route and load.

I think that any train manufacturer that doesn’t offer KERS  as standard on a train or tram will be an also-ran!




September 29, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment