Concept of the Day #2: AutoTram

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

And here’s another one from the Fraunhofer Institutes – the BusBahn, or AutoTram. What’s missing from this picture? Overhead wires and rails. This rolling prototype tram runs on rubber tyres, and is not restricted to a track – and its battery technology could be used in cars as well.

It features an electrically-switchable motor-generator clutch, double-layer supercapacitors and energy storage modules, with independent cells which discharge at different speeds. These can be monitored and controlled separately, and if one overheats or fails then the others are not affected. One charging method being considered is fast-charging at stops – super-quick zap-ups in 20-30 seconds whilst people get in and out, to provide enough energy to get to the next stop – via an electromagnetical roof-mounted ‘docking system’ to the  bus stop’s energy source (possibly solar-charged). A diesel engine is fitted for emergencies.

The Fraunhofer Institutes – 33 linked research groups/centres – are now working with a bus manufacturer, local engineering firms, Dresden Technical University and Dresden public transport administration to build a further prototype with a view to road-testing. More at the Fraunhofer site; thanks to alphagalileo.

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