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Inductive charging in Balingen: Higer’s Bulgarian-Chinese electric bus

© Stadtwerke Balingen

From 5 May to 24 September 2023, Balingen will host this year’s Baden-Württemberg State Garden Show. For this, a shuttle bus line has been set up to take visitors to the garden show from the railway station and a car park at the exhibition centre via the town centre to the event site at the Stadthalle.

A special bus

What is special about this line is the bus that will be used. Not only because it is a Chinese Higer of the type “KMQ 6125 GEV 3”, albeit built by Higer’s Bulgarian subsidiary Chariot. And a small note: this type designation is typically Chinese. In China, it is not the manufacturers who assign the “names” for their vehicles, but the state that does so centrally. This is why the letter combination “KMQ” stands for Higer in the cited type designation. However, large manufacturers such as BYD, which have long since “arrived” in Europe with success, also assign type names in parallel, as we are much more accustomed to doing here. For example, BYD has an “eBus-12”, an “eBus-18” or an “eBus-19”.

So the Higer charges inductively every time it drives along Wilhelmstraße on its way to the Garden Show in the city centre. Induction coils have been embedded in the road surface over a length of 400 metres. As soon as the bus passes over these coils, they switch on in the short section the bus is currently in, generate magnetic fields with a high frequency and thus induce a charging current that is picked up by receiving coils under the bus and used to recharge the car’s batteries. The induction coils in the street are connected to the city’s power grid via cables. – In addition, the batteries are topped up at the two bus stops Stadthalle and Messegelände. Here, too, inductive charging is used, but here the bus is parked.

The route during the first phase of operation | © Project presentation ELINA
Higer in Balingen Wilhelmstraße | © Stadtwerke Balingen
Building the induction coils at Wilhelmstraße in Balingen | © Stadtwerke Balingen

After the end of the Garden Show in normal city traffic

After the end of the State Garden Show, the Higer will be used on other routes in the normal Balingen city transport system. For this purpose, induction coils are to be embedded in the carriageway of a second street, this time over a length of 600 metres.

The project partners

The project partners for the deployment of this electric bus in Balingen are the Israeli company ElectReon, which is responsible for the charging infrastructure installed in the road called ERS (Electric Road System) and the two stationary charging stations. ElectReon Germany is based in Pulheim, an immediate neighbour of Cologne in the Bergheim district. The bus in Balingen is registered to ElectReon and therefore bears a number plate with “BM”. Other partners in the project are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Balingen municipal utility, the energy supplier EnBW and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The project is called ELINA (Einsatz dynamischer Ladeinfrastruktur Im öffentlichen Personen-NAhverkehr).  

Technical data of the Higer KMQ 6125 GEV 3

  • Length: 12,000 mm
  • Width: 2,550 mm
  • Height: 3,398 mm
  • Electric motor: Siemens 1 DB 2016-2 NB 06
  • Battery: Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePh)
  • Front axle: ZF RL 82 A (alternatively ZF RL 85 A)
  • Drive axle: ZF AVE 132
  • Steering: Bosch 8098
  • Brakes:
    WABCO disc brakes
    EBS = Electronic Braking System
    ABS = Anti-lock Braking System
    ASR = Anti-Slip-Regulation
  • Suspension: ECAS II with kneeling
  • Heating / Air conditioning: Spheros
Higer at Wilhelmstraße above the induction coils | © Stadtwerke Balingen
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