Toshiba Electric Bus Features Innovative Wireless Charging System

An electric bus is not as sexy as a Tesla with Ludicrous Mode installed, but it can be an important part of decarbonizing the transportation sector. Proterra and BYD are neck and neck in the race for most electric bus sales, but Toshiba is now joining in the fray. It’s secret weapon is an innovative wireless charging system for its advanced lithium ion rechargeable battery.

Toshiba electric bus with wireless charging

Developed in collaboration with Professor Yushi Kamiya of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, the new system does away with electro-mechanical induction coils. It replaces them with a magnetic resonance system that is easier to operate. All it takes is a push of a button by the driver — no cables to connect and no risk of electric shock.

Electromagnetic induction requires close alignment with the battery, and a small distance separating charge transmitting pad and receiving pad. Magnetic resonance is much more forgiving: The charge pad of Toshiba’s system and the SCiB battery can be misaligned by as much 20cm along the width and 10cm along the length, and they can be as far as 10cm apart. Tests have verified that the system’s radio emission level meets limit regulations and do not interfere with radio signals of nearby equipment.

Between now and December, Toshiba will field test its new technology on a medium size electric bus designed to handle the power demands of regular high speed journeys on expressways. The 45-seat bus is powered by a long-life, high output SCiB battery and will make regular trips between All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. facilities in Tonomachi, Kawasaki and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The 11-kilometer journey will test the bus and its performance under various traffic conditions, and will allow Toshiba to verify the convenience and practicality of contactless charging, along with its contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The SCiB battery of the type installed in the test electric bus is rugged, reliable and has long life, showing almost no reduction in performance even after 15,000 quick charge and discharge cycles. It is highly suited for use on shuttle buses operating at locations such as tourist sites and airports, which must combine heavy use with frequent and fast charging. It takes only 15 minutes or so to charge SCiB to a level necessary for the electric bus to run one-way between the test sites.

Source: Electric Cars Report

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.