12 Oct 2016


In 2017, Geneva will enter into service electric buses which need just 15 seconds of charge to run a whole 2 km. There are plans to launch these buses also in New Delhi, according to Indian media, helping the city to reduce a whopping 3.7 million tons of CO2 emissions. Geneva's public transport operator TGP, the Office of Promotion of Industries and Technologies, the Geneva power Utility SIG and ABB have collaborated to develop these buses.

TOSA is the acronym this new bus system is known by. That stands for Trolleybus Optimisation Systeme Alimentation. At first sight, these buses look like the regular electric trolley buses one sees in most European cities. But look towards the roof of one of these buses and you will see that instead of trolley poles - that connect to overhead lines - there's a moving arm on the bus that connects to an overhead receptacle, which is in turn integrated with a bus terminal.

That receptacle holds a flash-charging technology that feeds the batteries on the bus for 15 seconds, as passengers get on and off it. This 15-second charge gives these batteries a 600-kilowatt boost - enough for the bus to travel 2 km with more than 130 people. Later, at the bus terminals, the batteries are charged fully, and that takes 4-5 minutes.

When Geneva's 229-strong diesel fleet would be replaced with the new buses, it will help Geneva save as many as 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year - that is, assuming the diesel buses run 600,000 kms annually.

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