The stretch of expressway that links the three All Nippon Airways facilities in Tonomachi, Kawasaki, and Haneda Airport in Tokyo is 11 km long.
Beginning last week, it will be the test run for an electric bus that will utilise a new, fast, cable-free, contactless charger that Toshiba has developed for electric vehicles (EVs).
The bus involved is powered by Toshiba’s SCiB (Super Charge Ion Battery) lithium-ion rechargeable battery – good for 89 km per hour on a single charge – and will take three trips a day under regular traffic conditions.
A test similar to Toshiba’s airport shuttle program was rolled out in February and will run the entire year.
Toshiba’s team will assess the EVs performance in terms of efficiency, with particular attention to how the bus might contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
The charger technology was developed with Toshiba and Professor Yushi Kamiya at Waseda University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Instead of operating on the basis of electromagnetic induction, which is the convention, Toshiba’s EV recharger is based on magnetic resonance.
Once the driver presses a button on the bus dashboard, this activates the recharger: radio signals emit from the charge pad in the ground beneath the bus to SCiB battery.
“Electromagnetic induction requires close alignment with the battery,” Toshiba explains in an official statement, “with a small distance separating charge transmitting pad and receiving pad.”
“Magnetic resonance is much more forgiving: The charge pad of Toshiba’s system and the SCiB battery can be misaligned by as much 20cm along the width and 10cm along the length, and they can be as far as 10cm apart.”
“I think we have developed a high-quality system by combining the new, convenient contactless charger with a high-power SCiB suited to frequent charging,” Professor Kamiya said as Toshiba made the announcement last week, adding that once proved successful, the system will help to encourage the uptake of EV buses.
Toshiba reckons that this kind of technology is most suited to shuttle type transport service.
The recharge they say will take 15 minutes for a one way trip on the test run.
The battery is high performance and can deliver speeds suitable for safe operation in expressway conditions.