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eLIPTIC final conference highlights prospects for electric buses in cities

Sat 28 April 2018 | Back to news list | More bus news

The eLIPTIC project, in which the LowCVP has been a partner, has come to an end with the final conference taking place in Bremen, Germany from 25-27th April 2018. The three-year Horizon 2020 project looked to assess the potential for using existing electrical infrastructure to support the roll-out of electric vehicles in cities, with a focus on electric buses.

"Electrifying public transport in cities" - eLIPTIC - is a €6m European Commission funded project that investigated how cities can use already existing electrical infrastructure to support the charging of electric vehicles. The project covered three key themes:

  • Pillar A: Safe integration of e-buses into existing electric public transport infrastructure and upgrading trolley bus networks with 'better buses' or trolley hybrids and automatic wiring/de-wiring technology
  • Pillar B: Smart energy management upgrade of electric public transport systems
  • Pillar C: Multi-purpose use of electric public transport infrastructure e.g. for safe recharging of non-public transport vehicles

The project involved 11 cities across Europe which all have existing private electrical power networks that already support the operation of electric modes of transport e.g. train, tram, trolleybus. Each city team then looked to assess the feasibility for connecting the private network to charging infrastructure for ebuses or other electric vehicles potential. For example, Transport for London assesed the potential to use the London Underground network to charge buses and taxis overnight when the network has spare capacity.

Some cities were able to install charging infrastructure and trial the charging of e-buses successfully. The overall aim of the project was to reduce the cost of a mass rollout of EVs and increase the cost effectiveness of existing electric infrastructure.  

There was also a "twinning" aspect to the project, where 11 more cities were paired with cities that had similar characteristics in order to share the learning and experiences of the use case cities.

LowCVP's role in eLIPTIC was to disseminate the learnings from the use cases to relevant stakeholders in the UK and to incorporate the project lessons into policy recommendations to UK government. LowCVP held a UK eBus Summit in November 2016 to engage UK stakeholders with the project and to celebrate the growing adoption of ebuses across towns and cities the UK.

One key learning for LowCVP is that any government grant funding used to support the rollout of low emission vehicle technologies should be designed to support other vehicles. For example, a bus depot which is given support to upgrade the local substation to support charging electric buses overnight, should be combined with public charging for electric cars, taxis and vans to ensure that the infrastructure is used as much as possible during the day.

There were new questions raised by the project, including what are the legal ramifications of a public transport authority supplying electricity to the public, effectively making it a small electrical network operator, resulting in the need for changes in law.

The eLIPTIC project website and associated resources will be available for another 5 years to ensure the legacy of the project is long lasting.

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