GENEVA: In 2017, Geneva will have a new line of buses that will likely change the face of public transport in this global hub of finance and diplomacy.
These buses need just 15 seconds of charge to run a whole 2 km. And the technology they use will have Indian environmentalists chomping at the bit, because it could help India reduce a whopping 3.7 million tons of CO2 emissions.
Geneva’s public transport operator TGP, the Office of Promotion of Industries and Technologies, the Geneva power Utility SIG and ABB have collaborated to develop these buses. TOSA is the acronym this new bus system is known by. That stands for Trolleybus Optimisation Systeme Alimentation.
At first sight, these buses look like the regular electric trolley buses one sees in most European cities. But look towards the roof of one of these buses and you will see that instead of trolley poles – that connect to overhead lines – there’s a moving arm on the bus that connects to an overhead receptacle, which is in turn integrated with a bus terminal.
That receptacle holds a flash-charging technology that feeds the batteries on the bus for 15 seconds, as passengers get on and off it. This 15-second charge gives these batteries a 600-kilowatt boost – enough for the bus to travel 2 km with more than 130 people. Later, at the bus terminals, the batteries are charged fully, and that takes 4-5 minutes.
Sounds simple, yes, but when Geneva’s 229-strong diesel fleet is replaced with the new buses, it will help Geneva save as many as 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year – that is, assuming the diesel buses run 600,000 kms annually.
When fully commissioned in 2018, these buses – that will run on the city’s Route 23, which connects the city’s airport with its suburbs – will carry over 10,000 passengers a day.
“We see a big trend towards urbanisation which causes a lot of traffic congestion. One of the solutions to that is people travelling together on public transport, and the need for that to be emission free. TOSA is a system that meets those needs and it is a technology that offers flexibility. This is a way to be economically viable, green and energy efficient,” said Bruce Warner, Global Product Specialist for rail and urban transportation, ABB.