Prague: Successful first year of electrobus operation

The electrobus has completed its first successful year of operation. 

The Prague Public Transit Company (PPTC) has been involved in testing electrobuses for more than five years. In accordance with this project on the 31st August 2016 the SOR/Cegelec EBN 11 electrobus concluded its first year of operation on regular lines. The positive operating results and the need to continue monitoring the important parameters brought about the decision to extend the trial operation period until the end of August 2017.

The trial operation of the electrobus was initiated by the PPTC on the 1 September 2015 and as of the 31 August 2016 the vehicle has passed the borderline of 70,000 km, the vast majority of which was run in day-to-day operation while carrying passengers. Thereby, the PPTC fulfilled and even exceeded its target of achieving an annual mileage comparable to that of the average diesel bus. The second goal was to implement a completely emission-free operation solution, including the utilisation of electric heating and of air conditioning. The viability of this preferred equipment has been sufficiently tested not only in summer, but also, during the winter period.

An entirely unique feature of this project is the charging system for the tram network that is implemented via a two-pole pantograph collector with stationary galvanic isolation at the e-bus charging station that is located at the Želivského bus turnabout. An important parameter for ensuring optimal battery life is also the slow charging and the balancing of the batteries at the Hostivař garage during the night. The standard range of an electrobus carrying passengers including the implementing of stoppages for charging is between 265 and 350 kilometres (depending on the line, the operating parameters and the day, i.e. whether it is on a weekday or during a weekend).

The goal for the second year of operation is to monitor the status of the battery life and also to assess the other technical adjustments that have been implemented. At the end of June this year the heating and air conditioning systems were also supplemented by the addition of a heat pump. The impact of this adjustment on the consumption of electricity during the summer months when the air conditioning was in use was positive and the effects on heating will also be compared in a similar manner. It is possible to anticipate both additional adjustments and the debugging of the charging parameters that have a direct impact on the planning of operation and charging cycles.

The knowledge that is gained from the operation of the electrobus is continually evaluated, not only within the PPTC, but in the context of specialised conferences it is also compared with other similar projects. This happens either at the level of the Czech Association of Transport Companies or in accordance with its involvement in selected EU and UITP activities. A comprehensive evaluation of the operation will be made available after the completion of a two-year testing cycle.

Photo: DPP, Petr Hejna