Press Information

MHI to Develop and Demonstrate an Electric Bus and Pantograph-based Quick Charging System for Sao Paulo, Brazil
-- Target on Establishing Operational Technology Suited to Public Transport Systems --

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Corporation

Tokyo, November 20, 2013 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) have concluded an agreement with Empresa Metropolitana de Transportes Urbanos de Sao Paulo S.A. (EMTU/SP), a public company for the management of the low and medium capacity passenger bus public transportation operations in the Metropolitan Regions of Sao Paulo State, in Brazil, under the umbrella of the State's Metropolitan Transport Secretary (STM), and Metra Sistema Metropolitano de Transportes Ltda. (METRA), a local bus operation company on the Sao-Mateus - Jabaquara (ABD) corridor, in the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Region, for the development of tests program of a battery powered electric traction bus and a pantograph-based quick charging system.

Electric bus<br/> with pantograph-based quick charging system
Earlier, in May 2013 MHI and MC concluded an agreement with Eletra Industrial Ltda. (Eletra), a METRA group company that manufactures trolley buses, on joint development of an electric bus. The project calls for the development of a large articulated electric bus 18 meters in overall length, and also encompasses test operation, carrying passengers, and evaluation on an actual bus route in the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Area. The test is scheduled to be carried out by August 2014, with the aim of establishing the technology for an electric bus system matching the needs of the public transport market.

On November 19 a ceremony was held to commemorate the commencement of the test operation of the electric bus. The event was attended by the secretary of STM, mayors of related cities and representatives of affiliated companies.

In jointly developing the electric bus, MHI is to provide its lithium-ion rechargeable storage battery packs offering outstanding power retention, a newly developed pantograph-based quick charging system and standard rechargers. Eletra, with MHI's technical support, is in charge of mounting the battery packs on the bus roof and installing the charging stations. Eletra was selected as the local partner in the joint development project in view of its track record in converting diesel engine buses to electric trolley buses.

In the electric bus test operation phase, MHI will collect travel data and evaluate battery performance. EMTU/SP will assess the bus's practical feasibility, and METRA will cooperate in operating the bus. MC will be in charge of marketing and local coordination.

The project targets the verification of the technical and economic-financial feasibility for the application of this non-pollutant technology in the operation conditions of the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Region, aiming, also, a better lifetime cost than with diesel or trolley buses, to be achieved by suppressing initial investment costs by minimizing battery capacity, and through quick replenishment charging that will enable bus operation without recharges during peak morning and evening hours. In test operation, the focus will be on acquiring the optimal quick charging pattern causing minimal battery deterioration, a pantograph-based charging system suited to actual operation, and a simple system package.

Public transport systems in Latin America are heavily dependent on buses, and demand for switchovers to electric buses is increasing. This is especially the case in Sao Paulo State, where air pollution is a serious problem, with plans calling for all buses in the state – numbering near 70,000 units - to be replaced by vehicles run on renewable energies by around 2020. Another reason behind the rush to convert to electric buses is the fact that the 20th FIFA World Cup is to take place in Brazil next year, and Sao Paulo is expected to receive many visitors as a result.

Based on the partnerships formed in carrying out this project, MHI intends to proactively develop markets for electric buses not only elsewhere in Brazil but throughout Latin America.

      Test operation commencement ceremony                                         Inside the electric bus
      Japanese traditional "sake" barrel breaking

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