Bombardier to test electric buses that charge wirelessly

Bombardier's electric transit bus technology, which allows for wireless charging at bus stops, will be tested next winter on buses in Montreal.

Montreal test next winter, German test in spring 2014

Bombardier's electric transit technology will be tested next winter on buses in Montreal, followed in early 2014 on a route in the German city of Mannheim.

The transportation giant's Primove technology is designed to allow buses to be charged by underground induction stations when they stop to let passengers hop on and off.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) will test the technology in Canada's harsh winter conditions at a special track on Ile-Ste-Helene, the home of Expo 67, in partnership with Hydro-Quebec and an undisclosed bus manufacturer.

German bus riders, however, will get a first hand-on opportunity to see the electric buses in action during a 12-month trial beginning in the second quarter of 2014.

Regional operator Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) will test the new technology along one of its inner city routes.

Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport will fund the 3.3-million-euro ($4.4-million) project.

Charging en route

Two buses outfitted with special batteries will get charged by underground induction energy transfer stations each time they stop along the route.

Bombardier spokesman Marc Laforge said the technology could be attractive for governments looking to electrifying transit systems without installing overhead wires.

He said the Primove technology, in development for about five years, needs to be tested before it is sold commercially to transit systems.

Bombardier is the world's largest manufacturer of railway systems. Primove could also be used on its tramway and light rail units, and theoretically for cars.