The first 40 electric buses with ARADEX technology have been rolling through the streets of Weifang since May 2020. 250 such electric buses have already been ordered. The end customer is the Chinese bus manufacturer Zhangdong, who had ordered the drive system for the buses from Weichai.
These are purely electric vehicles, the electric motors of which are supplied with energy by the combination of a fuel cell and a backup battery. While the fuel cell, which was supplied by the Canadian manufacturer Ballard Power Systems, reliably provides the continuous output, the buffer battery provides additional energy to cover the peak outputs that are required for starting and on gradients. For the optimal integration of the fuel cells in the drive system, Weichai used the proven DCDC technology VP5000 from ARADEX. The VP5000-DCDC200 models used in the ARADEX range allow the naturally fluctuating fuel cell voltage to be increased to 650 V, whereby the DCDC converter’s high efficiency of up to 99% means that there are virtually no losses. By stabilizing the DC link, the constant supply of energy to the drive from the fuel cell can be ensured, the possibility of designing for higher voltages is improved, and the service life of the fuel cell is also significantly increased.
The drive solution using a fuel cell and backup battery guarantees flexible vehicle usage times since long charging breaks are not necessary. The hydrogen required to operate the fuel cells can be filled up within a few minutes. The backup battery is also recharged again and again by recuperation, i.e. by returning and storing the braking energy during operation, and thus not only offers a power reserve for peak loads, but also increases the overall efficiency of the drive train.
The electrification of the bus fleet is making a valuable ecological contribution to the region and we are already looking forward to further planned electrification.