The use of public transport is an environmentally friendly way to travel. If more and more passenger cars will be powered by electrical energy in the future, public transport companies will be forced to convert their diesel buses into electric buses in order not to lose this advantage.
Beside this aspect, national and european legislation exacerbates continously the standards for air quality with respect to fine dust particles and nitrogen oxides in urban areas since the beginning of the century. The requirement to comply with air limit values compels the urban public transport agencies to consider their strategical bus fleet renewal planning under the aspect of lowering their fleet emissions by increased deployment of electric buses.
The main objective of the PLATON project is to define a planning process for the conversion of a given diesel or mixed bus fleet to a 100% electric bus fleet and to implement this process into a web-based software tool. Due to the complexity of this issue, the planning process is based on basic methods (e.g. simulation, charging infrastructure optimization, vehicle scheduling optimization) which contains all the expert knowledge and experience required.
At a given investment budget and the defined optimization goal (e.g. replace the maximum passenger x km by electric buses, maximum number of electric buses or minimum CO2 emission) the planning process delivers a list of recommendations concerning all relevant aspects.
Firstly, relevant real life cases and requirements will be collected from electric bus manufacturers (including variability of bus models, electrical power storage devices and power charging systems, bus mechanical specificity, etc.) and public transport operators (including characteristics of bus fleets and routes, operating and management cost of buses etc.). Based on the results, input data, constraints and output data for the planning process and the basic methods will be determined. The most complex scientific part of the project concerns the mathematical modelling of the physical devices and the whole transportation system optimal design, as well as the improvement and efficiency increasement of existing basic methods using computer science algorithms.
The expected impact of the project is a more reliable and therefore faster conversion of conventional buses to electric buses and therefore an acceleration of environment and climate protection. The bus manufacturer can offer the tool to increase the level of sales of electric buses, however, operators and consultants of public transportation can easily analyse different ways to conduct the conversion to 100% electric fleet by using the tool.