ABB’s TOSA flash charging electric bus technology wins innovation prize

2014-10-10 - ABB-developed boost charging technology and traction equipment for electric buses recognized at German EBUS Award 2014.

The technology incorporated on TOSA, the first 100% electric articulated bus, was recognized at the EBUS Award 2014 on October 10. TOSA, which has now been in operation in Geneva, Switzerland, for over a year, won the Power Train and Charging Technology categories for its innovative on-board traction system and flash in-route charging. The EBUS Award is selected by a jury of worldwide recognized experts and the German public transportation association under the patronage of Alexander Dobrindt, Germany’s Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.


TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation), which carries up to 135 passengers, could represent a viable alternative to diesel-powered urban transportation in the future. The vehicle is charged directly at selected stops on its route with a 15-second, 400-kilowatt energy boost while the passengers enter and leave the vehicle, based on a new type of automatic flash-charging mechanism. The system uses a laser-controlled moving arm, which connects to an overhead receptacle for charging at bus shelters. The charging time is so quick that it does not interfere with the bus schedule and the lack of overhead lines improves the urban environment while providing greater route flexibility. At the end of the bus line a three to four-minute boost enables the full recharge of the batteries.

The flash-charging technology and the onboard traction equipment – which offers both high energy efficiency and easy integration for bus manufacturers – were developed by ABB and optimized for high-frequency bus routes in key urban areas. Thanks to an innovative electrical drive system, energy from the roof-mounted charging equipment can be stored in compact batteries, along with the vehicle’s braking energy, powering both the bus and its auxiliary services, such as interior lighting. ABB worked together with Geneva’s public transport company (TGP), the Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies (OPI) and the Geneva power utility SIG on this project.

Encouragement for the future

TOSA began pilot operations in May 2013 and by March of this year had clocked up over 8,000 kilometers of travel. During this phase, it was ascertained that TOSA could save 1,000 tons of CO2 over a local line covering approximately 600,000 kilometers per year, with zero emissions. It also offers electric energy consumption costs which are 30% lower than those for diesel consumption. The prize-win represents, therefore, not only a milestone of progress so far but also an encouragement for the future wider-scale application of this technology.

TOSA is not the only electric vehicle charging project that ABB is involved in. In September, ABB and China’s BYD announced a strategic collaboration to accelerate the introduction of new solutions for electric vehicle (EV) charging, among other aims. This year, the group also introduced its EV fast chargers in China, supplying DC fast chargers for the new Denza electric car developed by BYD’s joint venture with Daimler. ABB is a world leader in power electronics and energy storage systems for utilities, industry and transport and infrastructure.



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