Conductive Charging Solutions for Electric Buses

Schunk Transit System ensures clean and efficient public transportation

More and more municipalities are banning diesel-powered gensets in favor of zero-emission, battery-powered buses and other vehicles. Our innovative Schunk Smart Charging system is the key to integrating this into everyday operations - by optimizing the range and charging times of the batteries.

With its smart charging solutions, Schunk is defining new standards in the market segment for conductive, fully automatic recharging of electric buses. Innovative roof-mounted pantographs and inverted pantographs enable reliable charging of the batteries of electric buses on the line or in the depot within seconds. Our charging technologies are not only successfully in use in Germany, but also internationally - already in 25 countries. From Winnipeg to Barcelona to Helsinki & Moscow, electric bus manufacturers choose Schunk's current collectors.

In order to determine the right charging strategy for an electric bus, the density of stops, the length of routes traveled and the number of passengers must be taken into account. For this purpose, Schunk always considers individual requirements in close cooperation with manufacturers and operators in order to develop the best and most flexible solution for the market.

In doing so, we draw on the broad portfolio of automated conductive charging solutions, which includes both recharging of electric buses at stops and overnight charging at the depot. In addition, our experts are working on the development of a prototype of an autonomous fast charging system for electric vehicles (underbody charger), which is a charging system that can be retracted into the roadway.

Our flexible systems can be customized and optimally integrated both with a completely new charging infrastructure and with existing solutions. Here, the electric buses can be equipped with either a roof-mounted pantograph or an inverted pantograph.

Depot Charger

Inverted Pantograph

Roof Mounted Pantograph

Underbody Charger

Inverted Pantograph SLS202

"We see here a typical challenge of transport companies with a growing fleet: How do I implement overnight charging in the future - via a plug-in solution or with pantographs?" - Timo Staubach, Product Manager Battery Driven Vehicles
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  Electric buses with Schunk Smart Charging roof-mounted pantographs charge in the depot

100 electric buses for Schiphol Airport


Since April 2018, 100 electric buses with Schunk roof-mounted pantographs have been in operation at the Dutch airport. The buses cover approximately 30,000 km per day - completely emission-free! Thanks to the well-coordinated system of SLS 102 roof-mounted pantographs and charging station, the batteries can be charged while passengers are boarding and alighting. With a completely empty battery, a full charge takes less than 20 minutes. This short charging time as well as the high range of the buses were decisive for the cooperation between VDL Bus & Coach, Heliox and Schunk Transit Systems.

 Electric buses with Schunk Smart Charging roof-mounted pantographs charge in the depot

Electrical bus manufacturer Irizar relies on Schunk


To drive vehicle electrification, Irizar operates Europe's first e-mobility factory for buses and trucks in the Spanish city of Guipuzcoa. When designing the zero-emission bus "ie Tram", which has the capacity, access and configuration of a streetcar, Schunk Transit System is there as a strategic partner. In order to offer as much flexibility as possible while maintaining outstanding performance, Irizar has been using Schunk's smart-charging solutions since the project began in 2014.

The biggest challenge in the electrification of bus transport is the batteries. They must either be appropriately sized or recharged more frequently for the e-buses to have a range suitable for everyday use. Thanks to Schunk's intelligent charging technologies, which enable high power transfer in a short time, the required battery dimensions of electric buses can be significantly reduced. This makes the use of electric buses in public transportation significantly more efficient, powerful and flexible.

Opportunity Charging refers to opportunity charging at strategically installed fast charging facilities. For this purpose, the pantograph mounted on the vehicle roof contacts a remote station mounted at the stop. Pulse charging occurs within a few seconds and can therefore be done easily while waiting at stops. This charging process provides an advantage for the long range transit buses. Night charging, depot charging, also takes place via the pantograph. The pantograph (Depot Charger SLS301) contacts the vehicle-side counterpart on the electric bus from above. As a result, the e-buses can park very close to each other in the depot and less parking space is required than with plug-in charging. In addition, no specially trained personnel are needed for charging - an automatic signal provides the connection. This variant is suitable for operators of larger vehicle fleets who want to automatically recharge the vehicles in the depot overnight rather than during operation.