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Ceské Budjovice: Electric midibuses charging under catenary

Opportunity Charging via pantograph | © Martin Harák

Various charging concepts for electric buses are currently in use around the world. However, although certain standardizations could be achieved, there is up to the date when this report was written no widely accepted, predominantly used solution in place yet.

A rather unconventional technical solution is applied by the Czech town of České Budějovice, also known as Budweis in the German-speaking countries and well-known for its famous beer. In November 2018, three new shuttle services 21, 22 and 23 were introduced in order to connect large parking lots (Park&Ride) at different entrance points to the town with the inner city areas. The guiding principle hereby was to minimize individual traffic into the city. Eleven 8.9m long and 2.4m wide midibuses were supplied by Škoda Electric, while the bodies were delivered by Solaris. As Škoda model “29 BB” they are numbered 301 to 311 in České Budějovice. All of them offer 21 seats and 34 standing places. Their lithium polymer batteries are recharged at a small number of short stretches of double-pole overhead lines; the connection is via roof-mounted pantographs. Compared to trolleybus overhead systems, the cable cross-section is significantly larger to enable high charging current flows of up to 750V, hence shortening the charging times. Classic trolleybuses are also operating on several lines in the town.

Downtown | © Martin Harák

So far, the ebuses are showing a good performance and have been well received by the passengers. A similar application can be found, among others, with the Rampini/Siemens midibuses in Vienna. However, this system uses the close connection to the power supply of the city tramway.

© Martin Harák
© Martin Harák
Opportunity charging | © Martin Harák
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