Only electric buses will soon be operating on the apron of Oslo Airport. This is an important step for the airport operator Avinor on the way to becoming a fossil-free and climate-neutral airport – a goal that is set to become reality in 2030. For the implementation Avinor worked together with the technology company The Mobility House. The handover of the electric buses and charging infrastructure in August marked the start of the pioneering project, which is the first of its kind in Scandinavia.
The bus fleet, which will take passengers from the gate to the aircraft, consists of eight VDL Citea Electric buses from the Dutch company VDL Bus & Coach bv (part of VDL Groep). At night, the electric buses receive the electricity for their 216 kWh batteries in a hangar from four DC charging stations manufactured by Heliox. The stations, each with two CCS plugs per station, can deliver their 60kW output flexibly to the two charging points. The charging processes are controlled and monitored by the intelligent Charging and Energy Management system ChargePilot from The Mobility House.
The challenge in charging the electric bus fleet at Oslo Airport is the available electrical power of only 150 kW for the entire hangar. However, when electrifying the vehicles Avinor wanted to avoid a costly extension of the grid connection. Not to mention the fact that electricity at airports with their many consumers is already limited without electric buses. ChargePilot manages to keep all buses fully charged on time despite the limited grid connection by staggering charging processes or controlling them in parallel. Thanks to extensive monitoring functions, the operator always has a detailed overview of the charging status and power consumption of each individual vehicle.
“At the hangar, where the buses are parked and charged, we only had 150 kW available according to Avinor’s tender. A quick calculation showed us that this would result in approximately 18 kW for each bus – a little low when you consider that the buses have to be charged within a few hours,” explains Frank Reichel, Managing Director VDL Bus
& Coach Norway AS. “That’s why we joined forces with the experts from The Mobility House. They developed an energy management system that neatly interacts with the charging system of our buses, making sure that the power can be distributed efficiently between various charging points.”
ChargePilot also makes it possible to consider the parking situation in the hangar: The buses, which are a good 18 meters long, are parked in block formation in four rows at night. This means that there are two vehicles behind each other, which need to leave at different times in the morning. Since the hangar only allows to exit on one side, the buses in front and thus the ones which have been parked last must leave first. ChargePilot’s algorithm ensures that precisely these buses are charged with priority so that they are ready with a full battery for their service the next morning.
In addition to timetable-based load management and annual savings in the up to six-digit range, three new functions were recently added to ChargePilot which make the charging processes of electric buses even more efficient and convenient for drivers and dispatchers.