Bombardier, the world’s largest manufacturer of railway systems, will begin testing wirelessly-charged buses this winter in Montreal. The test rides won’t be available to riders just yet – but Mannheim, Germany will give commuters the first chance to ride wirelessly-charged buses, as they will have a limited run of the buses in the city for 12 months starting in spring 2014.
I personally find the idea to be pretty clever. From CBC of Canada:
[Bombardier’s] Primove technology is designed to allow buses to be charged by underground induction stations when they stop to let passengers hop on and off.
So rather than relying on charging stations as many electric vehicles do, these buses will be charged wirelessly as if they were running on rails. The idea is similar to trollies and railcars that have electric lines overhead, but the buses will only charge when they are stopped and the charging platforms will be entirely underground.
While such a system would require an underground building process, I think that it would be worth it – these buses will be quiet and clean, and I think it’s pretty ingenious that they will integrate something as time-consuming as battery charging into the day-to-day operations of the buses themselves. The project in Mannheim will cost 3.3 million euro ($4.4 million), and will be completely funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport.