Heliox: The rapid charging electric bus taking on air pollution

Heliox: The rapid charging electric bus taking on air pollution

Monday, May 15, 2017 — Less than a decade ago electric cars were little more than a climate friendly pipedream, now the industry is taking off and it’s creating a diverse range of green enterprises. One such innovative business is Heliox, a Dutch SME that developed a fast charging battery solution and, in the process, created the business case for emission-free public transport.

Heliox combined decades of power generating experience with modern-day green skills and pioneered a fast charging battery systems for zero emission public transport.

The average car uses 1 litre of petrol for 20 kilometres,

said Mark Smidt, business development director of Heliox.

Buses use 1 litre of diesel for every 3 kilometres; and everything they consume is spewed out into the cities and environment.

Heliox saw potential for a sustainable solution and built an innovative technology that could charge an electric bus at a turnaround station in 2-5 minutes. This opens the door to a zero-emission, 24/7 public transport system, powered entirely by renewables.

The driving force behind this technology was the company’s green team of designers, engineers, administration staff, business developers, project managers, software technicians and financial controllers.

SMEs are often game changers, we can act quickly and intelligently to put strategies of the European Union into action,

said Smidt.

Their conductive fast charging technology can also improve the green credentials of both bus manufactures and public transport operators, creating green jobs wherever their technology is implemented. This has seen Heliox introduce solutions in Finland, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. They are also in the process of expanding to the US, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Because of the effectiveness and potential of their technology, Heliox were awarded over EUR 1.5 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme and have grown from a team of 28 in 2015 to a total of 80 employees in 2017. Heliox have also doubled their revenue in just two years, from EUR 7 million in 2015 to EUR 20 million in 2017.

Our technology has become a business case to run electric vehicles cost competitive to diesel buses,

said Smidt.

With this solution we could cut all emissions from buses inside our cities.

 

Green worker profile

Enrico Migchels, Senior Electrical Design Engineer Battery Charger Systems, Heliox Automotive

Enrico always worked in the field of high performance power conversion. In the past he worked in consumer electronics like TVs and audio systems. Nowadays he works to help Heliox develop better electric vehicles.

Our systems are placed in rural areas in inner cities; I therefore have to meet the most stringent targets on electrical noise pollution and public safety. All these environmental and public aspects shape my technical decisions on a daily basis.

Enrico developed onboard electrical grids for trucks. These systems will supply clean electrical energy to the cargo refrigerator system, in order to raise fuel efficiency and lower emissions during long haul trips in Europe.

I'm proud that we can offer systems that are beneficial for the environment and simultaneously make a good business case. As the market response is very positive I feel that we can expand our concepts to a number of new markets; therefore electrifying the world, project by project.

 

Interesting facts & figures

  • In cities like Paris, Berlin or Amsterdam, there are hundreds of diesel buses pumping out greenhouse gas emissions on a daily basis.
  • With a power level of 300kW fast charging station it takes 5-10 minutes to fully charge Heliox’s electric bus battery
  • Electric transportation buses can be 12, 18 or 24 metres long and can carry up to 125 passengers.
  • If the buses are powered by renewable energy it creates a true zero emission transport system.
Green worker profile - Enrico Migchels
Volvo Bus Sales Lentz, © Heliox
Green worker profile - Enrico Migchels
© Heliox
© Heliox

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Iris Petsa

Press Officer for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

European Commission

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