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Taiwan’s First Smart Electric Bus Charging System

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In a collaboration between the Ministry of Transport’s Transportation Research Institute and industry leaders, the Industrial Research Institute (ITRI) announced a pioneering initiative to create the nation’s first smart charging service system for electric buses.

Image credit: itri.org.tw

The system, supported by big data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, adheres to the globally recognised Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), offering comprehensive energy management, smart charging services, and operations management solutions to passenger transport operators.

The innovative system streamlines the charging process, enabling full automation and round-the-clock charging simply by plugging in the charging gun. This eliminates the need for tedious manual charging, resulting in an estimated 20% reduction in operating costs for passenger transport operators and a simultaneous extension of electric vehicle battery life by 20%.

Preliminary estimates suggest that upon full electrification of buses, the industry could save around NT$1 billion (S$46 million), marking a significant financial impact. Hu Zhusheng, Deputy Director of ITRI, emphasised the pivotal role of electric vehicles in realising sustainable development goals and reducing carbon emissions.

ITRI’s electric vehicle charging station operation management system technology addresses key transformation pain points for passenger transport operators, including operating costs, manpower deployment, and battery life monitoring. Besides, the system incorporates “non-current sharing charging” technology, reducing power contract capacity requirements and cutting power costs by over 20%.

Additionally, “remote detection and control” technology minimises manual operations, mitigating the risk of human errors, while “AI artificial intelligence analysis” technology contributes to smooth charging operations and extends battery life by approximately 20%.

The integration of AI technology and big data analytics provides a dashboard for monitoring vehicle battery health and recording the entire life cycle, ensuring the efficient operation of electric buses.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transport, Chen Yanbo, underscored the importance of electrifying vehicles to achieve the 2050 net-zero emission goal. With a target of full electrification for urban buses by 2030, the Ministry of Transport collaborates with industry, government, academic, and research resources.

This collaboration, based on the electric bus data monitoring platform, passenger transport operator scheduling system, and charging equipment, aims to provide comprehensive electric bus energy management, smart charging services, and operation management solutions, supporting the development of smart energy-saving transportation.

Lin Jiguo, Director of the Transportation Research Institute, highlighted the positive impact of the electric bus operation data monitoring and management platform built in 2010-111. This platform has paved the way for integrating electric bus data and digital management applications, with the current smart charging system already operational at the Beishike Station, featuring 64 electric buses.

Plans involve expanding the system to cover multiple stations, passenger transport operators, and cross-system charging dispatch, addressing the charging management needs of electric fleets beyond buses, including electric logistics vehicles and taxis.

ITRI’s focus on new market values, as outlined in its “2035 Technology Strategy and Blueprint,” positions the institute as a key player in developing smart life applications. The research and development initiatives in electric vehicle systems, key components, and smart charging services aim to enhance global competitiveness and contribute to a smarter, energy-saving, and environmentally friendly future for Taiwan’s transportation sector.

Combining AI, big data, and automation, the project reduces operational costs, extends battery life, and exemplifies a crucial step towards eco-friendly and efficient public transportation. This innovation not only enhances the viability of electric buses but also contributes to the broader goals of achieving sustainable and low-carbon urban mobility.

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