An electric bus that can travel its entire 23km route on a few minutes charge has opened its doors to passengers today.
The Chariot e-bus that launched today in Sofia, Bulgaria, relies on supercapacitors rather than batteries that allows it to capture and reuse energy from braking to supplement the short charge it receives every time it returns to its terminal.
Last year, the European Environment Agency revealed that Bulgaria has the highest concentration of sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide in its air in Europe, but the bus will produce zero direct emissions and indirect emissions created from electricity generation will be less than one third of that of a normal diesel bus.
Zwika Zimmerman, chairman of Chariot Motors, said: “I have no doubt that these next generation electric buses are the future of urban public transport. This is the first electric bus on European streets that does not require traditional battery charging and can cover its whole route on a single charge requiring just a few minutes. However I’m confident that it won’t be the last.
“Cities across Europe face increased demand for public transportation at the same time as facing increased concerns over air pollution. Electric buses can both meet that demand and address those concerns.”
The vehicle is the result of a collaboration between Israeli-Bulgarian bus company Chariot Motors, China’s second largest bus manufacturer Higer and China’s world-leading ultra-capacitor producer Aowei.
The supercapacitor technology has been tested in Shanghai for more than seven years, clocking up more than eight million kilometres, but this is the first time it has been deployed in Europe.
As well the reduced environmental impact of the bus does not require overhead power line like some other urban transport solutions, resulting in total freedom of movement and no heavy infrastructure building and maintenance costs.
Additionally, the lack of an internal combustion engine, gearbox, exhaust system and radiator for cooling will significantly reduce the cost of maintenance for operators.