is currently leader in electric buses with its Orion parallel hybrids. However, the new IDTechEx report, Electric Buses and Taxis 2011-2021
shows that China is rapidly becoming by far the largest market for electric buses, not least because it can never build enough roads and parking spaces to support widespread adoption of cars because they are much less space efficient. They are much less energy efficient too. The Chinese market is rigged in favour of local suppliers.
Less space will be needed for charging buses and cars if faster charging becomes possible. It is therefore highly significant that, in April 2011, it was announced that Sweden will test the world's first fast rechargeable hybrid bus in Umeå City with a pantograph-based fast charging station, Bůsbaar, developed by Opbrid Transporte Sostenible S.L. It will be a Volvo
7700 diesel converted to hybrid. The project is part of Umeå City's plan to encourage more such vehicles in the city by 2014. e-Traction and Hybricon converted a Volvo 7700 to hybrid in six weeks with additional batteries
, Opbrid pantographs and electrical and software changes to accommodate fast charging. The bus could run purely on electricity with an option to revert to diesel mode if required. The 250kW opportunity charging station was developed by Opbrid Transporte Sostenible in collaboration with Furrer+Frey and Germany's Schunk. With this system, it is possible to convert most of the urban bus systems in the world from being gasoline driven to electric driven by changing diesel buses to fast charged hybrids and installing these charging stations, said Opbrid CEO Roger Bedell.
The station charges the vehicle's lithium-ion battery
in five to ten minutes to achieve nearly 100% all-electric operation for two to eighteen hours. Bůsbaar will be located at one end of the city bus route and will charge the vehicle at the end of each trip. The hybrid bus project is a collaboration between companies Hybricon AB, Opbrid SL, e-Traction BV, Umeå Energi AB and the Umeå City Corporation. Umeå city plans to test the bus through 2011 and introduces a second one in 2011. With the new fast charging hybrid buses, Umeå City seeks to fully electrify its bus system because both diesel and bio-fuels such as ethanol are very expensive in Sweden. Converting the city buses to alternate fuel vehicles will also assist the city significantly to reduce CO2 emissions, noise and air pollution. In addition, Siemens AG
has recently announced a fast charging station for cars. Tesla Motors
, Tara International
, General Motors
including Adam Opel
and other pure EV manufacturers are also deeply interested in fast charging.