How are these buses capable of running for the whole day? Well, you can thank science and technology for that. These buses are provided with a wireless boost of charge at the start and end of the route. This is made possible by employing plates which are fixed in road. These buses are the first of their kind that will be operating in UK.
This family of eight will be operating on Number 7 route which spans a distance of 15 miles between Milton Keynes suburbs of Wolverton and Bletchley and caters for 800,000 passengers per year. These buses are charged overnight and then they keep getting boosts throughout the day at the start and end of route. These buses make use of plates which have been embedded in the road and are accessed when driver lowers plates from the bottom of bus to about 4 cm below the road surface and charging is carried out for about ten minutes before the buses are ready to go.
So how do these plates work? The technology is quite simple; inductive charging! Wire coils in the road plates generate a magnetic field when electric current passes through them and this magnetic field induced a current in the bus plates that is used to charge the bus batteries. This whole project is basically a trial program that has a life of five years and is being led by European division of Japanese company Mitsui and UK engineering group Arup. The buses are being manufactured by Wrightbus.
John Bint from Milton Keynes Council said; ‘Electric buses have huge potential and we’re exploring how they can help us take better care of the environment without compromising passenger service. With the help of the project collaborators, we’ll be monitoring the buses closely over the next five years.’ According to Mr. Bint, if the program proves to be successful then this system shall be implemented upon all the bus routes.
Being a consultant and an engineering research professor at Cambridge University, John Miles, said; ‘These electric buses will be expected to do everything a diesel bus does. They will be operating on a demanding urban route, and that’s all part of the trial’s aim – to prove that electric buses can be tough as well as green.’ Remember how we said that this is the first kind of bus system in UK? Well, this system is not new for Turin and Genoa in Italy, Utrecht in the Netherlands and Mannheim in Germany.