German bus system to test Bombardier electric charging tech

Posted on February 19, 2013

Mannheim, Germany-based regional operator Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is introducing electric buses equipped with Bombardier's PRIMOVE technology as part of a pilot project.

During the “PRIMOVE Mannheim” research project, electric buses will recharge wirelessly while passengers get on and off the vehicles at bus stops along a selected inner city route. The project aims to prove that electric buses can operate daily passenger services, even on demanding routes.

During an initial period of 12 months, two completely electrically powered and inductively charged electric buses will be trialled in daily passenger operation on the existing RNV bus route. Both e-buses, built by the Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie HESS AG, are also equipped with the new Bombardier MITRAC e-bus powertrain for city buses. In addition, an electric van equipped with wireless PRIMOVE technology will be tested as a RNV service vehicle.

The project will help to determine a framework for infrastructure, batteries, inductive energy transfer and daily operation by testing the new technology on a real-life route. The project partners aim to prove that a technology transfer towards e-mobility is viable. They will also gain insights into further improving low-emission public transport systems by focusing on the operating efficiency of daily transport services. 

RNV GmbH was the first transport operator to use energy storage systems on its rail network; since 2009, light rail vehicles equipped with the MITRAC Energy Saver are operating successfully in the region. The use of PRIMOVE technology widens RNV’s commitment to efficient e-mobility to roads as well.

Bombardier’s invisible PRIMOVE charging technology is based on inductive energy transfer. It is installed entirely under the road surface and under the floor of the vehicles. The charging process begins as soon as the vehicle completely covers the charging segment.

The project partners will initially test the PRIMOVE technology during a testing and approval phase to collect information for the subsequent scheduled passenger operations, as well as for RNV’s internal operations and its training of personnel. Innovative features of the project include the planned optimization of the charging process by evaluating real-time data on the vehicle’s position on the route and its battery’s level of charging. Public relations and civic participation initiatives will involve passengers and residents of the city of Mannheim in the PRIMOVE trial.

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