World’s Fastest Charging Electric Bus Debuts in China


The world’s fastest charging electric bus is now operating in the eastern Chinese port city of Ningbo.

According to local transportation authorities, the public bus — which was manufactured in Ningbo and runs along a 24-stop, 11 kilometre route — takes as little as 10 seconds to charge up and be ready for the next leg of its journey.

China electric bus China fast charging electric bus

Zhou Qinghe, president of Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, said that, once charged, the bus can run for a distance of 5 kilometres.

While this may not appear to be a copious distance, the extremely rapid charging time combined with the fact that public transit vehicles tend to run along fixed routes mean that the bus can charge up whenever it’s stationary for just a brief period at designated locations – most obviously, passenger loading and disembarkation points.

In addition to its rapid charging ability, the bus is also capable of more efficient usage of its energy during its travel. While braking or negotiating slopes, the bus recycles over 80% of potential energy for storage and subsequent usage.

This translates into a reduction in electricity consumption of around 30–50% compared to its conventional peers.

Ningbo’s new electric bus makes use of supercapacitor technology that has already been trialled in nearby Shanghai for almost a decade.

The bus’s supercapacitors are manufactured from a cutting-edge carbon material that functions in all likely temperatures (from -40 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius).

The organic super capacitors are also extremely resilient, capable of charging and discharging on over a million occasions, conferring them with a service life of as long as 12 years.

Using only one tenth the energy of a standard diesel bus, this performance translates into fuel savings of as much as $200,000 over the full lifetime of the vehicle.

Ningbo now plans to add 1,200 more such buses to its public transportation fleet over the next 3 years.

About the Author

is an Australian trade journalist and technical translator with a keen interest in trends and development in the global energy sector, and their ramifications for economic growth in the future. He spent most of the noughties as resident of the greater China region and is literate in both Mandarin and Classical Chinese. Marc’s avocational interests include distance running, French literature, economic history, European board games, and submission grappling.
  • super390

    Wow. I never considered that approach before. Using supercapacitors to recharge at bus stops just enough to go a short distance. It’s the closest thing to light rail without power lines. The voltage must be staggering.

  • Jim Smith

    how reliable is the charging network? If one stop’s charger is down, what happens?

    • Joe Viocoe

      Well… the reliability problems are generally a product of public charging infrastructure.
      In this case, the bus company would maintain the charging system. So it can be equated with keeping enough diesel mechanics to keep buses running.

    • David R

      It would be smart to have enough extra capacity to skip a stop or two.