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An electric bus pilot project can be easy!

‘It’s huge, complicated, and expensive’ is many people’s first thought about electric bus pilot projects. Electric bus requirements in public transportation vary greatly between cities and countries. In Finland, most cities do not require bus operators to use electric buses – not yet. However, it’s just a matter of time until tenders from cities specify the use of electric buses on some routes. This is why Finland’s biggest bus company, Koiviston Auto Group, decided to foreshadow such requirements and carry out an electric bus pilot project with VDL Bus & Coach and Kempower.

We wanted to gain experience and test the buses and chargers ourselves, before it becomes a requirement.

In public transportation, the reliability of the bus fleet is the basis of everything. This was also the number one criterion for Koiviston Auto Group, when we decided to pilot electric buses and started our search for reliable electric buses and chargers.

Michael Andersson, Technical Director of Koiviston Auto Group
Along with reliability, Koiviston Auto Group evaluated technical qualities, professional co-operation and support, and costs. Using these criteria they finally decided on a combination of VDL electric buses and Kempower S-Series charging solution. With this combination, the pilot project could be undertaken easily and cost-effectively, and at a scale that was credible.

Pilot project with a cost-efficient charging infrastructure

Since this is a pilot, it was also very important to find a charging solution that does not require heavy infrastructure. We searched for a reliable and cost-efficient solution that would fit our existing environment and bus depots.

Michael Andersson

Koiviston Auto Group’s electric bus pilot project has just started, with one electric bus in operation. The charging system consists of a main power unit with two satellite charging poles. These are installed in an existing diesel bus depot where there is sufficient space for two electric buses. One charging pole will be installed outdoors, to enable easy charging outside the depot hall.

This charging infrastructure was built for testing our electric bus fleet. This is an excellent way to find out, using existing bus routes, what electric buses really require and what challenges there are, for example in bus route and schedule planning.

In this way we are ready to meet the eMobility needs set by the cities, and we will be able to provide credible and tested answers for cities’ public transport organizations.

Michael Andersson
The Kempower S-Series fast-charging solution is designed such that the main power unit can be modularly expanded to give more charging power, and more satellite charging poles can be added as the need for electric bus charging grows. In this way, the small investment in a test charging system can be fully used when expanding an electric business.

The trolley-type and easily movable Kempower T-Series enables fast charging, anywhere with a 63A power socket. In practice, all bus depots and commercial real estate already have 63A power sockets. So one could say that with the Kempower T-Series trolley charger, the charging infrastructure in a way already exists in most places where buses are usually found.

About Kempower:

Kempower designs and manufactures DC fast charging solutions for electric vehicles and machines. We’re a team of electric vehicle enthusiasts with a deep understanding of the charging market and a hands-on mentality. Our product development and production are rooted in Finland, with a majority of our materials and components sourced locally. We focus on all areas of transportation, from personal cars and commercial vehicles to mining equipment, boats and motorsports. With Kemppi Group’s 70 years’ experience in perfecting DC power supplies, we set the bar high in engineering and user-experience design. Kempower is listed in the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Finland.