The Bolloré Bluetram supercapacitor bus entered service on the NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle earlier last month, in April 2018.
The shuttle currently plies between NTU’s Halls of Residence at North Hill and JTC’s CleanTech One, which is part of the Jurong Innovation District, where special charging stations have been built.
It was initially reported on 28 March 2017 that the possibility of bringing in the Bolloré Bluetram was being explored. The announcement was made as part of a research and development agreement between French energy company Engie and local utility Senoko Energy, working with electric car-sharing operator Bolloré Group, the firm that was awarded the Government contract to start the electric car scheme. BlueSG, a Bolloré subsidiary, launched the electric car-sharing programme in December 2017.
On 22 January 2018, the Bolloré Bluetram was launched at NTU. The research partnership with BlueSG will run for two years and is supported by the Economic Development Board. As part of the trials, NTU students would also be able to ride the shuttle from the ‘second half of 2018’. The collaboration is also one of the key initiatives under the France-Singapore Year of Innovation, which aims to intensify cooperation on innovation between the two countries in 2018.
The bus began public runs in April 2018. Its route takes it from JTC’s CleanTech One to NTU’s North Hill Residence, Foodgle Food Court and NTU’s North Spine (FACTS Lobby), before returning via Foodgle Food Court and CleanTech Two.
The Bolloré Bluetram is a supercapacitor electric vehicle built by French company Bolloré, available in 6-metre, 12-metre, 18-metre (articulated) and 24-metre (bi-articulated) lengths. Equipped with rubber tires, the Bluetram costs five to ten times less to construct as compared to a conventional tram line as costly infrastructure is significantly reduced (without the need for catenary wires or steel rails). Such a design would also improve aesthetics within a city operating trams.
While designed for use as an urban tram, the NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle sees the bus operating a short-distance shuttle service with two en-route charging stations.
The fully-electric vehicle stores power mainly in supercapacitors which are installed on the roof. They are characterized by their high power density, very short charging and discharging time, and the ability to go through several million cycles without degrading.
Recharging at bus stops, which are fitted with quick charging infrastructure, requires only 20 seconds. A telescopic charging connector at the station automatically plugs into the Bluetram when the vehicle pulls up to it. On a single charge, the vehicle can travel for two kilometres. The vehicle is also equipped with a 30 kWh LMP® battery pack to allow the vehicle to return to a depot/maintenance facility outside of the network of stations, allowing for an additional range of around 30 kilometres.
Special charging stops have been built at JTC’s CleanTech One and NTU’s North Hill Residences. As the bus is configured for a left-hand-drive market, the passenger door and charging connector are on the right side of the bus.
The shuttle currently plies between JTC’s CleanTech One, NTU’s North Hill Residences, Foodgle Food Court and NTU’s North Spine (FACTS Lobby), before returning via Foodgle Food Court and CleanTech Two.