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Flash charging powers electric buses in 15 seconds

Posting in Cities

In Seattle, the price of having an electric bus service that emits zero emissions on site is the unsightly overhead power lines that are needed to keep the buses moving.

But new charging technology could allow cities to benefit from electric buses without sacrificing much air space.

ABB, a leading power and automation technology firm, recently announced a partnership with the city of Geneva to demonstrate its flash charging electric bus system. The "world’s first high-capacity flash charging electric bus system" powers buses at select stops with 15 second shots of energy along its route between the Geneva airport and Palexpo, the city's international exhibition center. At the end of the line the bus charges fully for three or four minutes.

The system isn't wireless, unlike some new systems. Instead, the system uses a laser-controlled moving arm that connects to an overhead receptacle for charging, no overhead wire necessary.

“This project will pave the way for switching to more flexible, cost-effective, public transport infrastructure while reducing pollution and noise,” said Claes Rytoft, ABB’s acting Chief Technology Officer.

Here's a look at the technology in action:

Photo via ABB

— By on June 3, 2013, 6:01 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure