The Future of Electric Bus Bodies are Lightweight
The announcement of Australia’s largest bus body builder – Volgren to partner with Deakin University, Clean TeQ – Victoria based Mining specialist, and Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to investigate how a rare–earth element(REE), Scandium, can be used to produce a lightweight electric bus body.
The said the partnership between these key industry leaders is to provide the next generation body design of electric buses having extended ranges and increased carrying capacities. The global market demand for electric buses increase significantly each passing year and having a lighter bus body will be a great game changer for the bus industry.
Another next generation of the coach and bus industry is the high–tech monitoring and tracking systems to manage the entire fleet. This high–tech system will also ensure your vehicles will operate under optimum conditions and help optimise its routes.
The purpose of Volgren’s Bus Optimisation Project is to remove a tonne of weight more from their existing popular low–floor city bus, Optimus. And presently, Volgren has already the lightest aluminum bus body of its type in Australia, and most probably in the world as well.
Peter Dale said, CEO of Volgren, “Electric buses are without a doubt the technology of the future, however, at the moment [they] are constrained by weight.”
“The challenge with current battery electric vehicles is the low energy density of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) or batteries in comparison to diesel fuel.”
“The result is a vehicle’s operating range that is intrinsically linked with vehicle mass.”
“Reduced vehicle range can be managed through increased frequency of charging stations, but this is costly and complicates bus route management.”
“A lighter bus allows for the inclusion of a larger battery, giving extended range. It also equates to a greater passenger carrying capacity.”
Volgren is showing its strong commitment to the bus industry by combining world–class research into their vehicles. And they are clearly dedicated to staying at the forefront of the bus industry by continuously finding better ways and improving manufacturing techniques.
The head of the research team is Dr Thomas Dorin, he is an Associate Research Fellow at Deakin University for Frontier Materials, which focuses on innovation and development in science and engineering. Deakin University researchers also include PhD scholarship, to make sure that the research remains ideal for industry application.
Dr Thomas Dorin said, “Our researchers will explore the potential of varying Volgren’s alloys’ compositions by using scandium additions to design a new alloy with the same or higher strength combined with better extrudability.”
He added, “The beauty of scandium is you do not need a lot in the material to make it a lot stronger.”
“And because we do not put a lot of scandium in the material you do not affect the other key properties too much.”
All of their initial laboratory extrusion–scale trials will be conducted at Deakin University. And during industrial–scale trials, it will be at Volgren’s manufacturing facility with billet casters and commercial extruders.