While electrification of private automobiles is progressing only slowly due to the difficulties in achieving a suitable driving range, things are looking better in the public transport sector. The advantages of electric buses are hard to ignore: they are kinder to the environment and much quieter than traditional buses and trams. Compared with vehicles that run on rails, buses can dispense with overhead catenary wires, and thus offer greater flexibility in route planning. However, electric buses need to be charged to keep running. Schunk has developed a new approach in this field that will premiere at HANNOVER MESSE 2014.
The Schunk Group has decades of experience supplying pantographs for trains and trams. It was an obvious step to apply this know-how intelligently to meet the needs of public transport – which led directly to Schunk Smart Charging: pantographs specially developed for buses. These units are manufactured in two styles: one version for use with pulse-charging systems (15 second partial-charging bursts) and the other for rapid charging systems (where a full charge is delivered over several minutes). Both versions charge electric buses reliably and gently. Prototypes of both versions commenced test operations in 2014 in Dresden (Germany) and Helmond (Netherlands).