FEATURE: Busworld Europe preview – an electrified future moves closer

16 October 2019

Later this week, Busworld Europe 2019, the world’s oldest and most famous bus and coach only exhibition, promises to be one of the most forward-looking events in its 48-year history. The need to reduce vehicle emissions, especially in urban areas, has resulted in an intensified focus on how public transport is operated and utilised, and this evolving outlook is represented in this year’s vast event line-up.

Innovation is at the forefront. Not only in terms of drivetrain electrification – emerging as the industry’s favoured method of tackling the emissions challenge – but the infrastructure required to support such a revolutionary change. Here is a very quick round-up of what you can expect on October 18-23.

Equipmake will debut the latest version of its modular electric bus platform, which the company claims, “allows coachbuilders with no EV knowledge to become an electric bus manufacturer, cost-effectively.” The chassis has been designed with a system level approach designed to optimise energy use for vehicle heating and cooling, enabling the use of smaller, more cost-efficient batteries.

Portuguese company, CaetanoBus will reveal a new hydrogen electric bus, H2.City Gold. Recognising that one solution may not fit all purposes worldwide, the alternative-fuel chassis complements its existing traditional plug-in electric, modular platform, which together showcase the company’s “Vision of future mobility.”

As part of its continued investment in future powertrain development, Cummins Inc. is unveiling its new low-profile battery destined for the European market. Under 140mm in height, the battery is designed to help vehicle manufacturers meet low floor requirements and optimise unoccupied space. It is part of an extensive Cummins presence that showcases its expanding range of electrification technologies, including e-Drive, an integrated motor, transmission and invertor.

Alongside the modular chassis, finished vehicles, new batteries and power units, new charging solutions will also be on display. Heliox will show SprintCharge, which it calls the “the world’s first battery integrated opportunity charging station for e-buses and e-trucks.” These stations store power from the grid, enabling faster, more efficient charging than can be traditionally supported, helping to achieve greater fleet efficiency.

Jema Energy’s take on developing a solution for a common issue is a 150kW modular and inter-operable charger, which includes a system to optimise fleet charging behaviour depending on route schedules or hourly rates.

Completing the broad look at future service requirements, advanced new maintenance and telematics options are also being debuted. Stratio’s new Automated Vehicle Maintenance approach uses artificial intelligence and data generated by driver and vehicle performance to develop a flexible maintenance schedule that is more efficient and cost-effective than traditionally fixed intervals. Or, in Stratio’s words, “a new reality without disruptions.”

Telematics specialist ViriCity is launching the “world’s first ‘mixed fleet’ platform” that enables fleet operators to monitor all electric and non-electric fleet vehicles. The company states that this level of insight and data capture will help ease the transition to all-electric operations in the future.

Greater efficiency is a clear common goal. What’s most impressive is the sheer breadth of solutions on display, which makes an electrified future for public transport seem an eminently achievable reality.