Electric bus charging
Example of an electric bus being charged at a stop using wireless induction charging. (Photo credit: Evgeny Gerasimov)

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Michael Masquelier is CEO of Wave, the company that makes the wireless system in Long Beach.

“We automatically detect that the vehicle’s there, automatically start the charge,” he says. “So it’s completely hands-free and automated.”

Wireless charging systems use what’s known as inductive charging to produce electricity across a magnetic field. Wireless phone chargers and even some electric toothbrushes work in the same way.

Masquelier says wireless charging is not only convenient. It may ultimately make switching to electric buses more cost effective.

“By doing in-route charging on the order of five minutes every lap we can roughly double the range of the vehicle,” he says. “So they don’t have to go back to the depot to charge, and they don’t have to use two buses to achieve the same thing that one bus can do with our charger.”

So wireless charging could help speed the transition to clean transportation.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Transportation