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Ultracapacitor buses in Shanghai

Published on October 23rd, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

 Sinautec Automobile Technologies is making mini and full-scale municipal buses powered only by ultracapacitors, can be

recharged by a mobile recharging unit that combines large photovoltaic
array and a vertical wind turbine. They have been in successful commercial use in the greater Shanghai area
since 2006.

 

The idea of using ultracapacitors in electric buses may be a little
counterintuitive at first, since they can only store a fraction of the
energy if a lithium battery. Indeed, the buses couldn’t go far. But
according to the Sinautec concept, the ultracapacitor bus would only need to
get to the next bus stop/recharging station, which would have to be relatively close. The
key to the Sinautec system is that several of the bus stops would have an overhead
recharging unit that the bus would quickly latch onto. The bus wouldn’t
necessarily need a full charge at each stop. It would need just enough to get
it to the next stop/recharging station where it could be boosted again.

 

Current versions of the bus have a range of 3.5-5.5 miles per full
charge, depending on whether the vehicles air conditioner is in use. The other part of this concept is that each recharging station would
generate energy from a renewable source, such as solar or wind power,
or both. This video demonstrates the concept and shows some of them in service in Shanghai. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide much information about the actual capacitors that are being used.

 


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