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Canada Power Transportation Technology

Wirelessly Charged Buses Being Tested Next Year 245

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the canada-gets-all-the-cool-stuff dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From the article: 'Bombardier's electric transit technology will be tested next winter on buses in Montreal, followed in early 2014 on a route in the German city of Mannheim. The transportation giant'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.' This technology while impressive may not make it to the U.S. even if proven successful due to the lack of popularity of public transportation. If they could only get my phone to charge wirelessly." The article says that the induction charging stuff could also be used to charge trains.
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Wirelessly Charged Buses Being Tested Next Year

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  • free energy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:04PM (#42941117)

    If you carried a coil of wire with the correct circuitry attached you'd be able to charge your cell phone at the bus/train stop as well.

    • Re:free energy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:47AM (#42941595) Homepage

      If you carried a coil of wire with the correct circuitry attached you'd be able to charge your cell phone at the bus/train stop as well.

      In fact, slipping a coil of appropriately-wound wire into your buddy's back pocket will become a popular practical joke.

    • My guess is that a transponder on the bus triggers the charging field, so you won't be able to charge for long.

      • My guess is that a transponder on the bus triggers the charging field, so you won't be able to charge for long.

        That's still plenty of free electricity for anyone willing to grab it, just hop to the bus stop if you see a bus approaching and enjoy.

        • coin a new phrase: 'catching from free e-fi'

        • My guess is that a transponder on the bus triggers the charging field, so you won't be able to charge for long.

          That's still plenty of free electricity for anyone willing to grab it, just hop to the bus stop if you see a bus approaching and enjoy.

          The strongest field will, of course, be under the bus.

    • by necro81 (917438)
      I personally prefer to siphon my power from the third rail of the subway. But, if you want to try to get all inductive and not get your hands dirty...
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:12PM (#42941157)

    This technology while impressive may not make it to the U.S. even if proven successful due to the lack of popularity of public transportation.

    OK, if you live in the U.S., why don't you ride the bus or train to work?

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:18PM (#42941195) Journal

      Because I'd have to sit next to other people from the US! Really, have you seen us?

      • I've seen you.

        now, please, do us all a favor and turn OFF your laptop's camera. put tape over it or something. please!

        j/k. (I think...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In to work

      Drive: 20 minutes
      Bus: 45 minutes, two transfers.

      Out of work

      Drive: 20 minutes
      Bus: 1:30, two transfers.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Interesting, where I live and work it's more or less the opposite. I take it the transit outfit where you live doesn't use grade separation for mass transit.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Just for fun I went to our bus trip planner for the phoenix area:

        Total trip time: 2 hr 29 min
        Cost $7.00

        My drive time: no traffic 26 minutes, heavy traffic 60 minutes. Total cost about 1 gallon of gas ~$3.50 here.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      OK, if you live in the U.S., why don't you ride the bus or train to work?

      Me? There is one direct train that would get me to work, and it leaves 2 hours before I'm ready. If I miss the single direct train coming back, I have to change over, making the trip take about 6 times as long as the drive. And then I'd have to leave even earlier to walk over and get the kids at their two separate schools. I'd be able to work for about 3 hours per day, tops.

      My wife works in a crappy part of town and often has to leave work after dark.

      So yeah, we both drive despite having readily accessible

  • by AJWM (19027) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:16PM (#42941179) Homepage

    A distinguishing characteristic of trains is that they run on fixed tracks. The kind of thing that's easy to put a third rail beside or a wire overhead. Why TF would you need to charge them?

    • Re:Trains?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nemosoft Unv. (16776) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:35PM (#42941279)

      Putting up a third rail or wire overhead incurs costs too. Plus, it's sometimes inconvenient when a train track has a level crossing with 'regular' traffic.

      I'd be more worried about the huge magnetic fields being generated to transfer energy from the grid to the bus or train. You need a whopping amount of Joules to move a train, and to charge it in the short time it's waiting at a stop requires even more current. It probably would make for a very good hard disk degausser... (not to mention the danger to credit cards, RFID card and anything else with a wire loop in it)

      • by AJWM (19027)

        Plus, it's sometimes inconvenient when a train track has a level crossing with 'regular' traffic.

        The 'trains' (aka Light Rail) in downtown Denver happily share the streets with regular traffic (out of downtown they have their own rights of way and grade-separated crossings).

        Of course, growing up in Toronto we called them 'streetcars', and they even crossed each others' tracks (and wires).

        The point is that if you're not loading the thing down with batteries that need to be charged, you don't need quite so wh

      • Yeah I would wonder about building a robotic charging plug. Lose less energy that way, or maybe make it inductive but close coupled and robotic. Like an electric toothbrush.

  • Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:17PM (#42941191)
    The anonymous writer behind the summary slipped in his or her own opinion about the US's appetite for public transit, and the likelihood of such an innovation ever reaching our shores. Speaking as a New Yorker, we *love* public transit. If this proves to be successful, cost effective and green, I bet there would be a major push to adopt it - here at least.
    • by davmoo (63521)

      Induction charging, as it is now, is anything but cost effective and green. Its one of the most inefficient charging methods around.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      speaking as a non New Yorker, public transportation in most of the country is non existant or near worthless ... unless you want to go from the ghetto to the mall

      • sf bay area person, here. there was a job I interviewed for that was in 'the city' (san fran) and I live in the south bay area. while I don't normally consider public trans an option for me, I would have considered it for the right job. public would be longer BUT you don't have to fight traffic. and so, it seems a lot of people would take public even though its 'yucky' just because waiting in traffic is yuckier still.

        its hell on your car and your nerves.

        on public, you can 'zone out' with your book, lap

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Speaking as a New Yorker, ...

      And there we have it. You're not a typical American. You're a New Yorker. It's quite a different place from elsewhere in the country.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:22PM (#42941229) Homepage Journal

    Induction charging, that's rather inefficient. Better to fit the trains with connection pads at the bottom, and have them stop along a solid-contact charging strip in the designated stop area, for direct-wire charging.

    Much less to maintain, too.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      For trains it's kind of dumb, but for buses they can use electromagnetic resonance charging, which is much more efficient and transferring power wirelessly and doesn't have to be lined up as well
    • I see this more like a pork project for Bombardier from the Canadian government. Considering the huge losses from the wireless chargers and the mass of the bus and passengers, this will be hardly viable on commercial terms, even taking into account the cheap hydroelectric energy in Canada.

  • by Sussurros (2457406) on Monday February 18, 2013 @11:29PM (#42941255)
    Americans love public transport, look how often they catch cabs!
  • with a nice little carbon tax with a "starter" rate of say $5 per gallon of gas imposed.
    It would kill two birds with one stone:
          1. Put the brakes on the rate of expansion of fossil fuel use and GHG emissions growth
          2. Start making a dent in the US deficit and debt

    But of course, being a rational, sensible, simple, and effective policy, this would naturally be political suicide.

    • by davmoo (63521)

      I think we should put a special tax on people who assume that everyone lives in a big city like they do, and has access to a public transportation system. 20% of their gross income would be a good start.

    • by sir-gold (949031)

      First of all, that would more than double the cost of gas, second of all, that would have no effect on debt or deficit, the bill would have to be written specifically so that the money could only be used to pay debt, otherwise it would all get spent on tax cuts or Homeland Security. Also, any increase in gas prices generally leads to an overall increase in product prices, because it costs more to ship everything.

      You really want to clean up the environment? Instead of artificially raising the price of gas ev

      • "First of all, that would more than double the cost of gas, "

        Yep. That's the idea:
        - Disincentivize and decrease usage of harmful thing
        - Provide incentive for innovation in newly tilted market playing field to create effective alternatives faster.

        "second of all, that would have no effect on debt or deficit, the bill would have to be written specifically so that the money could only be used to pay debt, otherwise it would all get spent on tax cuts or Homeland Security."

        or legislate that the

        • by fatphil (181876)
          > Coal power is highly immoral [...] and should be phased out globally with top priority and haste.

          Alas some people might think that the best way of phasing it out with top priority and haste is to use it all up as quickly as possible.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      This is a perfect example of why public transportation fails. The only time it is attractive is if you somehow make driving a car is even crappier than public transit. When you have decent roads, are not in a massively overpopulated area and don't have crazy laws like suggested above, cars pretty much always win.
      • It's not really about attractiveness.
        It's about intergenerational and global ethics.

        The market has failed on this one, because people, en mass, are not long term thinkers enough, nor rational cause-effect and probability thinkers enough, to value what they ought to value. And the market is driven by what people value.
        Let me highlight the market problem another way. How much would you pay annually for an insurance policy that would prevent your descendants in 200 years from living in post-civilized chaos, wa

  • by JasoninKS (1783390) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:02AM (#42941399)
    Doesn't seem like the bus would get much charge for the short time it's parked. I can't see the benefit.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Only turn it on when a wheelchair is loading. That should give it plenty of time to charge.

  • by prodigalmba (2844961) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:25AM (#42941741)
    (reposted after logging in from anonymous coward status) I was in Shanghai in January, and observed supercapacitor (as labeled) buses operating on major routes on-loading and off-loading passengers. Overhead cables lined the route, and at every stop the bus would extend a superstructure to the cables, make contact (whether directly or inductively - unobservable), wait 5-10s, retract, and onward the bus would go. I don't know who manufactured the buses. I simply thought it notable that the Chinese were fielding such a system. I'll leave the questions about liability, etc. to the floor. In any case, and irrespective of where the bus was manufactured, guess who's going to learn whatever shortcomings may lie in this technology and improve on them first for having deployed it. And if the buses were designed or made in China, then . . . props to them. Not trying to create xenophobic bogeymen here, quite the contrary, it's worth observing how different folks operate.
  • now if I can just figure out how to modify an EV to take advantage...
  • Can't wait to have GREEN buses for Congress to throw me under.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:03AM (#42941999) Homepage

    CALTRANS had an induction-charged bus [latimes.com] deployed in Berkeley in the 1980s. It required precise parking at bus stops, so the two halves of the split transformer could connect magnetically. The system worked OK, but wasn't a huge win.

    GE once patented a system where an entire lane had transformers, so vehicles could run on ground power. That was too expensive. It would cost like a maglev track.

  • ... is EvoBus, a subsidary of Daimler-Benz. And that's why the second test track is in Mannheim, Germany, because there EvoBus builds their busses (coaches are build in Ulm, Germany). To be more exact, it's a Citaro bus Bombardier is using.
  • http://www.proterra.com/ [proterra.com] makes a wireless charging electric bus that is in use in the Greenville SC area. Obama was down here not long ago celebrating its rollout in the upstate, and my little town [youtube.com] was one of many that received federal grant money to help buy and deploy these systems.

    So, I don't know why the article poster though this technology "mignt not make it to the US." Perhaps just a lack of journalistic research... who knows?

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