Source: BYD
Source: BYD

Leading Chinese auto and bus maker BYD will install what is thought to be the largest wireless vehicle charging network to date in a partnership with Philadelphia-based Momentum Dynamics and Indianapolis’ own public transport system, Indygo.

Three high-powered, wireless inductors will be installed to deliver 300kW charging a 33-strong electric bus fleet, allowing 24 hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week operation.

The 33 electric buses, which will commence operation from 2021, will be provided by Warren Buffet-backed BYD after initial testing with the wireless inductive technology showed the Chinese busmaker’s K11 buses would deliver the best driving range – nearly 500km according to the trial’s most successful test.

“We anticipated that vehicle range would depend on temperature, but the contract requires a 275-mile range at 0 degrees,” said Justin Stuehrenberg, IndyGo’s VP of capital projects and planning in a statement.

“Our team identified several options to address the issue and worked closely with BYD to determine the most feasible resolution.

“Numerous test days this spring resulted in range performance at and above the contractually required 275 miles (443km) on a single charge. To date, the best range of any one test was 307 miles (494km) on a single charge.”

Momentum Dynamics – who spearheaded a deal in Norway’s capital, Oslo, to provide wireless charging infrastructure for the city’s proposed 100% electric taxi fleet in March – has already supplied and installed the cutting edge technology that allows electric vehicles to boost driving range without the need to plug in, in four US states.

Andrew Daga, Momentum Dynamics CEO and founder said in a note by email, “We are incredibly excited to partner with BYD and IndyGo to install 300-kilowatt wireless inductive charging stations, which will extend driving range for the BYD buses.”

Once installed, each of the three wireless charging locations will charge the Indygo electric bus fleet for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, incrementally increasing driving range while drivers take scheduled breaks.

“Our line in the sand was to develop a solution that wouldn’t interrupt transit service” said Bryan Luellen, VP of public affairs for IndyGo in a statement.

“This charging strategy will maintain the 10-minute service we’ve promised on the Red Line at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

In addition to providing cleaner air for users of the bus service by virtue of the fact of not using diesel and thus emitting PM2.5 particulate matter and NOx into air breathed by boarding passengers, each zero-emissions bus will mean a huge amount of carbon emissions are saved.

Estimates are for each electric bus such as that made by BYD, as much as 10 tons of nitrogen oxides, 350 pounds of diesel particulate matter, and approximately 1,690 tons of CO2 over the 12-year lifecycle of the vehicle. 

“BYD applauds IndyGo for bringing zero emission technology to its community, reducing air pollution and providing smoother, quieter trips for riders,” said Bobby Hill, VP of BYD Coach & Bus in a note by email.

“We are moving toward an electric transportation future, and Indianapolis is leading the pack both nationally and globally,” Daga also said.

“As public transit agencies transition fleets to electric vehicles, they see substantial economic and environmental benefits with on-route wireless charging technology.”

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