In this month's newsletter we focus on the various structural variations of buses. The functionality of a bus is examined in consultation with clients, which can lead to several versions of the same type.
The Dutch manufacturer, VDL, for example, supplies electric and hybrid buses to various transport companies. These buses are provided with a customised structure according to the requirements of each transport company individually. This consequently leads to differences in the same type of bus. What does this mean for emergency responders? To prevent mistakes, the names of the transport companies have been added to our Crash Recovery System database for buses.
Furthermore, in this newsletter we discuss the SOLBUS. A bus operated by the Dutch company, Hymove, has been converted into a fuel cell vehicle (FCV).
More on these topics in our newsletter this month!
DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SAME TYPE OF BUS
Images: VDL-Citea-SLFA-Electric 3-axle basic model 2017-2018
So at first sight, the same bus three times over. Or, as an emergency responder, do you still notice important differences? The differences are mainly in the body shape, the number of doors and also, importantly, the charging point (pantograph) on the roof where the bus is connected in the depot for recharging.
To make you aware of the differences as a first responder, after selecting the bus from the Crash Recovery System according to make, model and type, you have to choose the right bus company. In collaboration with VDL, we will shortly be linking the licence plate numbers of the various bus companies to the correct version in the Crash Recovery System to be accessed for first responders with licence plate request functionalities.
During 2018, the database for buses will be further expanded with alternative-powered buses. We will also be adding buses to the USA database this year. Stay informed through our social media channels.
Image: Buses connected to the charging station
The red and white VDL bus in the image above is a bus from the Bravo bus company that operates in Eindhoven (Netherlands). The same bus also operates at Schiphol Airport (Netherlands), for example, where the charging point is in a different position on the roof.
On 15 January 2018, the German Stadtwerke Osnabrück announced that VDL Bus & Coach will deliver the first 13 VDL Citea SLFA Electrics by the end of 2018. These electric articulated vehicles will be deployed on the first fully electric line 41 between Düstrup and Haste. It is likely that other European countries will soon follow. (Source: nieuwsbrief VDL).
AREAS OF CONCERN FOR THE EMERGENCY RESPONDER
Securing these buses after an accident is similar to the methods used for passenger vehicles. BEWARE: It is important to always consult the correct deactivation information in the Crash Recovery System. In many cases, the engine is switched off when an airbag has been activated. There are, however, more and more exceptions to this rule! In the case of a bus, due to the lack of an airbag system there is a good chance that the engine of the bus will still be switched on after an accident. To work safely and effectively, always exercise caution when approaching the vehicle and consult the information in the Crash Recovery System!
These buses are provided with service/emergency switches at different points
Image: CRS step-by-step deactivation process
SOLBUS is a Polish bus manufacturer and Hymove is a Dutch company that installs hydrogen units into the Solcity bus. A collaboration such as this between vehicle manufacturers and innovative companies that focus on the development of alternative energy sources is becoming increasingly common.
What does this mean for the emergency responder? At a time when there is an increased focus on the environment, the conversion of vehicles to an alternative type of engine is becoming increasingly common. In more and more cases, it is not the manufacturer that fits the vehicle with an alternative engine, but the conversion is done by a different party. This makes it more difficult for the responder to recognise the engine type. Furthermore, there is a greater chance that these vehicles will be involved in an accident or fire due to the increase in their number and the wide variety of engine types on the road. Due to our close collaboration with these companies, the Crash Recovery System provides all the available information to the emergency responder.
Image: SOLBUS Solcity Fuel Cell (Hymove) 2016-2018
The SOLBUS Solcity Fuel Cell is an electrically powered bus. The built-in fuel cell supplies electricity to the engine.
How does it work?
Hydrogen gas from the hydrogen tank (1) is mixed with oxygen separately in the fuel cell (2). This causes a chemical reaction that generates electrical energy and water vapour. The electrical energy is stored in the battery pack (3) and used by the engine and all other electrical components in the bus. Water vapour is the waste product that leaves the unit via the exhaust pipe.
BEWARE: Because both energy types are present in the fuel cell (2), it is coloured in orange and blue. Orange = High voltage. Blue = Hydrogen.
Crash Recovery System image: SOLBUS Solcity Fuel Cell
AREAS OF CONCERN FOR THE EMERGENCY RESPONDER
Storage of hydrogen gas.
Under 350 Bar pressure.
Odourless and colourless – highly flammable – no flames visible in the event of fire – risk of suffocation.
Lithium Ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide battery pack.
It can take up to 24 hours before a battery fire is completely extinguished.
A fuel cell module has a voltage of up to 300 Volts.
After deactivation, the fuel cell retains its residual voltage for 5 minutes.
Never cause damage to this fuel cell, even after deactivation.
BEWARE: If there is a fire, assume that the entire bus is electrified. Do not touch any part of the bus. Always wear all required personal protective equipment and independent breathing apparatus. Always consult the Crash Recovery System in case of accidents and a vehicle fire. Also with this bus, the Crash Recovery System advises the responder about the appropriate steps to take to make the vehicle safe! Know what's inside!