Electric bus and charging point supplier Ebusco is working with Rocsys, which supplies plug-in robots, to automate bus depots through robotisation, with a new robot that ensures the CCS plug of the depot charger is plugged into the bus automatically and 100% correctly. The partners say that the key advantages of automating bus depots are many and varied, and that automating the process means there is no need for human hands, which has two major benefits: it saves time, but perhaps more importantly, it eliminates the risk of a bus not being charged in the morning, because someone forgot to plug it in or the plug wasn’t inserted properly.
A key choice is between pantograph charging and plug-in charging automation, which adds to the choices that have to be made when specifying a bus fleet. Ebusco believes that plug-in charging is the best solution, as it requires no expensive and time-consuming infrastructure beyond plug-in charging units. “The only argument we regularly hear in favour of charging via a pantograph is that nobody has to do anything manually. That argument is no longer relevant thanks to this innovative robot,” said Ebusco CEO Peter Bijvelds. “This combination saves enormously on costs, time and permits compared to pantograph solutions.”
“A lot of people think that robots are something we’ll have in the future, but we’re proving that they can do the job now. The prototype robot is ready and working. Delivery of the first series of robots will take place in April 2021, after which a demo set-up will be installed at Ebusco in Deurne. A second, larger series is scheduled for July 2021,” said Crijn Bouman, CEO of Rocsys.
Ebusco said that there are more automation developments in the pipeline and that the robot is being developed so that it can serve several buses at the same time. It is also working hard to standardise communication between the vehicle, the charger, the robot and the higher-level systems, to get the entire charging process ready for self-driving electric vehicles.