Geneva’s New Electric Buses Will Charge in 15 Seconds

Forget Superchargers. These outlets qualify as hyperchargers.

Electric Buses in Geneva
ABB

In a rare technological win for public transit, a new system for electric buses in Geneva will let them top up in 15 seconds, thanks to chargers five times as powerful as Tesla’s fancy, private-sector Superchargers. The news comes along with an announcement that the Swiss city, in an effort to cut emissions, will begin to replace its diesel-powered municipal buses with electric ones. In anticipation of the switch-over, Geneva’s public transportation authority has awarded Swiss technology company ABB a $16 million contract to create and install the super-fast charging network.

The first route to use the new, emissions-free system will be a roadway between Geneva and a new suburb called Praille-Acacias-Vernet, which is intended to house 11,000 workers. More than 10,000 daily riders will rely on 13 charging stations to speed buses along; each charging location will hit a stationary bus with a 600-kW blast lasting 15 seconds, providing enough juice to get to the big vehicle to the next stopping point. At the end of the line, a 5-minute recharge will top up the batteries all the way

ABB

By comparison, Tesla’s vaunted Superchargers provide a mere 120-kW of power. That means that Model S and X owners can park, hook up, and in 20–40 minutes, motor away with at least 100 miles of electric range. Quick by electric car standards, yes—but ages compared to a quarter of a minute.

Admittedly, it’s foolish to compare commercial systems, which benefit from professional operators, to what the average electric-car owner might be expected to handle. Still, the gap between 120 and 600 is significant, and we can’t imagine Elon Musk will be able to bear it for long. Could the five-minute Tesla charge be far off? Odds may be slim, but we can hope.