Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Hybrid and EV Technology
Spent a few hours at the Bus and Coach Expo being held at the NEC in Birmingham this week, some very interesting stands especially Wrightbus who were displaying their new Hybrid Bus for London that replaces the iconic Routemaster and also their full EV bus.
This was my first opportunity to have a close inspection of the new Bus for London and I was impressed, 3 sets of doors, 2 stairwells, minimalist design and whilst thoroughly modern has enough references to the Routemaster to be a very believable big brother to the original.
They were not the only manufacturers displaying low or zero emission vehicles, and I discussed with most of them the life expectancy of the battery pack and return on investment.
Most agreed that it could take up to 5 years to recoup the additional cost of the battery pack and one manufacturer who shall remain nameless believes that after 5 years the battery pack on their full EV would be operating at 80% of its’ original capacity – dangerously close to many experts opinion that High Voltage batteries for Hybrid or EV use would be End of Life at 75% capacity.
600 of the new Bus for London have been ordered, hope that their battery packs last for more than 5 years!
None of the manufacturers could give me information on how to disable the battery packs in the event of an emergency situation, flood, fire or accident could require the battery pack to be isolated and the first question is where the fuses are, how can the high voltage system that runs at 600+ volts be made safe and what are the safety requirements?
Otherwise, a great show with lots of new innovations, especially loved the Volvo stand and the quality of some of the new coaches and buses is so high, travelling public are being spoilt!