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Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:59 pm

tonyp wrote:In the latest October issue of their house magazine, DP Kontakt, DPP Prague (the city operator) clarifies further the details and definition of the Prague project. Unfortunately it's a PDF and in Czech, so I can't reproduce the useful diagrams, but they have better-defined the types of electric bus.

There are also equivalent types of electric rail vehicle.

tonyp wrote:At the first level there is the traditional trolleybus that runs 100% on overhead wire. Production of these has diminished in recent years and will eventually cease, if they haven't already.

Analogous to most electric rail vehicles, including most trams.

tonyp wrote:Next there is the partial trolleybus that has batteries and can run 10-30% of its service on batteries and only requires overhead wire for 70-90% of its run. This is now the standard type of trolleybus in recent years.

And this is my preferred option. They draw power from the overhead wires when under them and only run on battery power away from them. Dual straight-electric/battery electric drive also exists on some trams. I favour this for many kinds of road vehicle. I have even fantasised about making electric passenger cars like this, using special high reach trolley-poles.

tonyp wrote:Next there are two types of autonomous electric bus. The first (the type being tested in Prague) DPP now calls a dynamic electric bus because it can charge on the move (supplemented by static recharge at termini and at the depot). This can run 70-80% of its service on batteries and 10-30% on overhead wire. The alternative in-ground induction recharge method would also be considered a dynamic electric bus, but the system is so costly that it's unlikely to be a practical proposition.

The first type is also a "partial trolleybus".

tonyp wrote:Finally, there is the static electric bus that runs entirely on batteries with static (stationary) recharges at termini and/or at the depot. This is the only one of the four types that has a range limitation and the bigger the bus, the greater the range limitation.

This is much like nearly all electric passenger cars, and also to any combustion-engined vehicle as these are only ever refuelled when stationary, usually only at service stations or at depots. But battery electric cars are well suited to city driving, where the range of the battery is (more than) enough for short trips.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:10 am

Here is an interesting paper on progress of in-motion charging technology which seems to be moving ahead in favour and may ultimately stack up as the technology to replace diesel:

http://www.scienpress.com/Upload/GEO/Vol%206_4_21.pdf
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:41 am

Some sort of system of collecting electric current while moving (usually overhead power) is nearly always used on tram installations. It is standard on surviving first generation tramway network and is also part of most new tram and light rail installation, and is widely used on heavy rail, especially in an urban setting.
Overhead power is being installed on heavy rail networks even recently, think of the Adelaide electrification, and with trams making a comeback, it is installed on most newbuild systems. Yet there are hardly any new trolleybus wiring networks.
Also, hardly any first generation tramways (with overhead power) have been abandoned recently and none of the surviving ones have been de-electrified, yet a few trolleybus wiring networks have been dismantled.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:12 pm

Okay, I wonder, given responses in two other threads I started on trolleybuses, how well most others here understand trolleybuses, so I'll give a more detailed explanation here. First of all, the only fixed infrastructure they need is overhead wires, which should be pretty cheap to install, especially when compared to both rails and overhead wires for electric rail vehicles, and especially where the wires can be supported from buildings.
If the wires are above the centre lane of a three-lane carriageway, trolleybuses in any of the lanes can draw power from that pair of wires, so trolleybuses are more flexible than most others here seem to think, especially if they have auxiliary batteries.
Having said that, I have asked for a comparison of the difference between a trolleybus and a diesel bus with the difference between a diesel train and a straight electric train. But I still haven't got it.

By the way, there have been a few brand new trolleybus power networks this century, one is in Rome where trolleybuses returned in 2005, and they do use battery power on the most visually sensitive part of the route.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Linto63 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:13 pm

As explained on this thread, electric buses with batteries that are either self charging or can be replenished at termini, are just around the corner, so there is next to no chance of trolleybuses returning in this country.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:35 pm

An anticipation of improvements like that are not good enough, what matters here is the technology that has existed so far. Also, there are a few battery trams that can do the same but that hasn't stopped overhead power being deployed on new tram systems.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:48 pm

Linto63 wrote:As explained on this thread, electric buses with batteries that are either self charging or can be replenished at termini, are just around the corner, so there is next to no chance of trolleybuses returning in this country.

Not in the traditional form, which is virtually no longer manufactured anyway, but the technology has been adapted into in-motion charging. Many of the new "trolleybuses" nowadays are actually dynamic electric (battery) buses with in-motion charging.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:44 pm

They still use external electricity by default, and wherever overhead wires are cheap enough to install per mile, this seems like a reasonable default.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Linto63 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:20 pm

Myrtone wrote:An anticipation of improvements like that are not good enough, what matters here is the technology that has existed so far.
Good enough or not, appears there is no appetite for the return of trolleybuses in Australia. Can't recall it even getting a mention in the various long term transport strategy papers that each state has produced.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:49 pm

The Adelaide O Bahn was built with supports for poles to carry overhead wires for trolleybuses. In any case, as was said when this thread started, it's no longer relevant to talk about trolleybuses in the traditional sense as the technology has changed and morphed. Nowadays we're looking at battery buses and whether they're statically or dynamically charged. Trolley poles are necessary for dynamic charging. You can call them trolleybuses if you like but they're fundamentally battery buses that can charge on the move. They're not the same as buses that rely on running on wires with battery auxiliary.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Passenger 57 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:59 pm

Linto63 wrote:Good enough or not, appears there is no appetite for the return of trolleybuses in Australia. Can't recall it even getting a mention in the various long term transport strategy papers that each state has produced.

They're not sexy enough. The word "bus" is a turn-off. It looks like you may have missed those articles about and proposals for "trackless trams" though I'm not sure whether any of them have proposed overhead wiring. A more conventional term for these is guided buses.

As battery and charging technology improves the case for overhead wiring diminishes. Overhead does allow you to use vehicles with smaller batteries and simpler charging electronics (or alternatively extending the life of larger batteries) so may well become economical for certain segments of the networks. However, many of those highly trafficked segments would probably ultimately be more economic with rail so why go through a trolley bus stage?

From what I have seen in this country rarely do the planners crunch the numbers properly and propose a transport design justified by current and future demand. Rather the business cases are loaded with dubious external benefits or inflated demand numbers to achieve a viable cost-benefit ratio for someone's pet project or the project starved of capital.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:19 pm

Passenger 57 wrote:As battery and charging technology improves the case for overhead wiring diminishes. Overhead does allow you to use vehicles with smaller batteries and simpler charging electronics (or alternatively extending the life of larger batteries) so may well become economical for certain segments of the networks. However, many of those highly trafficked segments would probably ultimately be more economic with rail so why go through a trolley bus stage?

Overhead wiring will still be economical as long as trolleybus wiring is much cheaper to install per mile than both rails and overhead wires, and it is definitely easier to install, this can be done without resurfacing the road below.
Just remember that an equivalent of dynamic charging does not seem to be possible for internal combustion engined vehicles, which appears to be why they are always refuelled while stationary.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:09 am

Here is an excellent article, summarising the current state of play with the technology:

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/ ... eb/577954/
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Nugget » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:51 am

Another take on it without the bias.
https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-mag ... tric-buses
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:23 pm

Nugget wrote:Another take on it without the bias.
https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-mag ... tric-buses

Two questions:
What bias was there in the previous article?
How do you know you're getting all of the facts on the Chinese operations, particularly financial?
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Merc1107 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:25 pm

tonyp wrote:How do you know you're getting all of the facts on the Chinese operations, particularly financial?
That's a point I was going to raise myself.

Some other questions of mine would be - how do energy costs (for electric and conventional vehicles) in China compare with those in Western nations? How much would the same infrastructure cost in the West with our comprehensive safety and workplace regulations? How large a role does the Government have in making these sweeping changes; are they a facade to prop up their manufacturing industries, or to somehow "prove" to the West they are moving forward?

I would wager the article shared by Tony presents a far more realistic summary of the current state of affairs; there's a good reason operators elsewhere in the world have really only dabbled with these vehicles. That will undoubtedly change as the technology advances.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:01 pm

Somebody with a European manufacturer with a China outlet told me once that the Chinese are very good at spin, when the reality might not be all that it seems.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Nugget » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:57 am

tonyp wrote:
Nugget wrote:Another take on it without the bias.
https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-mag ... tric-buses

Two questions:
What bias was there in the previous article?
How do you know you're getting all of the facts on the Chinese operations, particularly financial?


The Citylab bias was all about the bus itself, they left one line for the lack of actual infrastructure and planning in ABQ. Many American cities have a bias against the fully electric bus (diesel and gas hybrids are fine) mainly because it is not currently manufactured by a North American manufacturer.

The SCMP article does balance out there are still issues even in places like Shenzhen which has gone all electric. Range anxiety and the price of electricity being the main issues. The one point that the article doesn't touch upon is how clean the energy that goes into producing the electric charging points are.

One non-Chinese city which has wholeheartedly adopted the electric bus change is Amsterdam, implementing the infrastructure to do so as well.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:32 pm

Nugget wrote:The Citylab bias was all about the bus itself, they left one line for the lack of actual infrastructure and planning in ABQ. Many American cities have a bias against the fully electric bus (diesel and gas hybrids are fine) mainly because it is not currently manufactured by a North American manufacturer.

The SCMP article does balance out there are still issues even in places like Shenzhen which has gone all electric. Range anxiety and the price of electricity being the main issues. The one point that the article doesn't touch upon is how clean the energy that goes into producing the electric charging points are.

One non-Chinese city which has wholeheartedly adopted the electric bus change is Amsterdam, implementing the infrastructure to do so as well.

I didn't read that bias into the article, perhaps because I wasn't focussed on USA. The article was good for its coverage of alternative approaches, particularly in-motion charging which is gaining favour in Europe. It also at least acknowledges the trolleybus, about which there has been an extraordinary blindness in the general discussion. It is actually the European trolleybus industry that has been driving this technological change for some 10-15 years now. It's still the only answer to the range and availability issues and, with the balance of using batteries combined with charging on the move, is likely to be the most practical way forward.

In terms of China, it's impossible to know what to believe because you don't know if you're getting the full and correct information. China does have a reputation for exaggerating when promoting products and achievements, which hurts them when they're actually being honest - and we don't know when they're being honest and when they're not. Somewhere like Shenzen is probably hugely subsidised in various ways by a government and industry determined to present their achievements as world-leading, using an impressive mega-example, but how does it really stack up financially? Could somewhere like Sydney or Brisbane afford to do on the same scale what Shenzen has done? the answer is most likely not.

The reference to Amsterdam - again that trolleybus blindness! There are a number of European cities that have prided themselves in having almost all-electric public transport, some for many years. While in all cases the electric bus type for many decades was trolley, this is now changing to a mixture of trolley and battery (and an increasing combination of both), with the trolleys doing the heavy lifting and the the battery buses doing the secondary work. "No downtime vs downtime" pretty-well sums it up! Diesel/hybrids have virtually no downtime, no wonder they remain popular. To truly replace them, that's the expectation that has to be met.

I'm not sure what you mean about infrastructure which naturally has to be provided alongside the buses from start-up, otherwise neither trolley nor battery-electric would be able to operate.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Nugget » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:27 pm

The trolleybus is ancient technology and any new uses would require the infrastructure. Would it be cost effective to build the trolleybus infrastructure in Sydney or Melbourne?

The US cities with some existing trolleybus infrastructure have stopped dismantling it and are actively trying to keep it. In some instances because of the geography the trolleybus actually solves one of the main problems of electric buses which is the range required for a demanding undulating route.

Shenzhen actually also has a much different bus routing than they tend to use in Australia and most of North America. They tend to have a more European route arrangements with short routes and changeover/transfer points.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:23 pm

You can say that tram and electric train are ancient technology that are even older, the point is that they've proven to be a very effective technology that still leads the field ahead of anything else. It's a common mistake to see the trolleybus as a technology that reached a fixed point in the past and never advanced, when it fact it actually started the move towards the modern electric bus a couple of decades ago when it began to free itself from total dependence on wires. Nowadays it's only a matter of degree across a spectrum between the dynamic and the static electric bus. The traditional trolleybus that is totally dependent on wires is no longer produced anywhere afaik. Now they're part-trolley, part battery bus.

The underlying point is that the trolleybus in any of its versions across that spectrum has the range and virtual absence of downtime that the pure battery bus hasn't. For this reason, new wiring is and will be going up around Europe for a start as part of investment in in-motion charging buses. In a sense they're not actually trolleybuses any more, they're electric buses that charge on the move through poles rather than statically through a cable or pantograph. The other thing is that only straight sections of wire will need to be erected. There should be no need for the old complex turnouts and crossings as these points can be traversed on battery. In-motion charging is also about the only way of giving electric articulated buses any reasonable range. This is the nature of the project in Prague.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby moa999 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:55 pm

Tend to agree that a trolley-battery hybrid is a viable solution for many areas that have a trunk core, particularly if it's a dedicated way.

The issues with a full battery bus is either substantial range issues requiring more downtime (so reduced fleet efficiency) or more cost and weight (batteries are expensive and heavy and this won't change quickly).

While it may not be a solution for Sydney (the obvious routes are getting LR or a metro), it would be very sensible on Adelaide O-Bahn and Brisbane Busways.

I wonder whether you could build an in-roof charging system into a future Northern Beaches tunnel
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby tonyp » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:00 am

moa999 wrote:
While it may not be a solution for Sydney (the obvious routes are getting LR or a train), it would be very sensible on Adelaide O-Bahn and Brisbane Busways.

It's going to be very interesting to see the final outcome of this Brisbane "metro-that-isn't-a-bus-but-may-be" project where they're apparently getting double-articulated buses (that bit is OK if they're on a private road) and it's going to be electrified. There's no way in the current state of the technology that this will happen without wires overhead. I'm just waiting for the "anything-but-trolleybuses" mentality to kick in and they announce it will have to be diesel because "electric technology isn't advanced enough yet"! There's a lot of irrationality flying around in the debate.

The Adelaide O Bahn was built with foundations for stanchions to enable future electrification. They didn't seem to have that prejudice in Adelaide at that time.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby Myrtone » Sat May 18, 2019 12:57 pm

I wonder how well most here understand trolleybuses, so here is a photo of some in Wellington:
Image
And here is an older photo showing a trolleybus in Brisbane:
Image
The Storey bridge had three lanes per direction and just one pair of wires per direction was enough for buses in any lane to be able to draw power from them.

Remember, modern ones do have auxiliary power units. Also, if overhead power is still part of most of the world tram and light rail networks, including most new installations, surely trolleybuses could make a comeback.
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Re: Electric bus - how to get artics viably electrified

Postby moa999 » Fri May 24, 2019 5:15 pm

Myrtone wrote:I wonder how well most here understand trolleybuses, so here is a photo of some in Wellington:
.


I suspect most here know what a trolleybus is.

FYI along Wellington's trolley buses and the infrastructure was removed in 2017.

Replaced by mostly diesel buses both single and double deck, with a few electric versions of each, plus a single trolley bus-battery conversion.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/11223334 ... ning-again
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