Voith enters the growing market of electric buses, thanks to an innovative drive system realized for bus operation and suitable for vehicles from all manufacturers, even if it was originally conceptualized as a prototype for a Solaris Urbino Electric. In September, Voith will introduce the demonstrator bus to the general public at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 trade fair in Hanover, under the motto “Drive New Ways”.

voith drive system electric bus solaris urbino electric

An electric drive system for every kind of bus

With a torque of 2,250 Newton meters and an output of 260 kilowatts, the liquid-cooled permanent magnet motor with high-efficiency inverter and smart energy management system provides outstanding driving performance and does not require a separate transmission. The system can even efficiently operate heavy articulated buses. The compact design of the drive means that it is not only low in weight but also low in noise emissions and maintenance. The consistently employed lightweight design approach makes it possible to minimize any surplus weight, which in turn has a positive effect on energy consumption and consequently the achievable range. What’s more, the targeted brake force recuperation of the drive positively affects mileage. The fact that all components are cooled with water increases reliability and performance and makes it possible to reduce noise emissions during operation.

Battery and range improvements

The range of the demonstrator bus currently exceeds 200 km. This corresponds to the total daily operation of a conventional city bus line. In the coming years, this range is expected to increase thanks to further developments in battery technology. Of course, “The achievable range primarily depends on the battery, which we acquire from an internationally renowned supplier,” explains Jürgen Berger, project manager at Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG. “We are currently using a lithium-iron-phosphate battery. This battery offers the highest level of reliability, but the electric drive system is designed in such a way that it can work together with any battery technology,” says Berger.

voith drive system electric bus solaris urbino electric

Mobility is at a turning point

The demand for environmentally friendly, low- noise drives in public transport is rapidly growing. Added to this is the political pressure, as for example restrictions imposed on nitrogen oxide and noise emissions, meaning that the number of electric drive vehicles will continue to grow in the coming years. Indeed, Voith is expecting that by 2030, electric bus will have taken up a superior position in the bus fleets of transport operators compared to other drive solutions. The concept of mobility must adapt to these circumstances if individual traffic is still to be allowed inside cities in the future.

Electric buses, the time has come

“Especially for the bus fleets of municipal transport services, the time for electromobility has definitely arrived,” says Cornelius Weitzmann, Executive Vice President & CEO Mobility of Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG. “As an established and experienced partner of the bus industry, we have acquired an extensive amount of experience in regard to the various drive systems used for buses. With the new electric drive system, we are putting this experience to good use and add yet another milestone in our company history to our portfolio.”

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