Brazil Produces First Solar-Electric Bus

This article was first published on the 24th of February, 2017 and last updated on the 24th of February, 2017 by Patrick Carpen.

Today, I read an article published yesterday (23rd of February, 2017) by a reputable online Brazilian newspaper, and I decided that I wanted to share it with the world. The article published in Portuguese, but I am translating here into English below for you to read.

As you know, the world has been making greater efforts to curb the effects of global warming by reducing the emissions of fossil fuel. This also helps prevent air pollution and gives us cleaner air to breathe. One such effort are electric vehicles: vehicles which don’t burn fossil fuel.

Well, I was a bit impressed when I read about “Brazil’s First Electric Bus”, launched on the 23rd of February, 2017. To be honest, I don’t know if this is the “World’s First Electric Bus” or not. I’ll have to do some research into that to see if any other countries have already come up with electric buses. So far, I haven’t heard of any, but I may be wrong, so I don’t want to talk before knowing the facts.

Article below translated from Portuguese.

Source of original article:

Project is a partnership between the Federal University of Santa Catarina and WEG

When they founded WEG in 1961, Werner Ricardo Voigt, Eggon João da Silva and Geraldo Werninghaus could not imagine the challenges and achievements that would come in the following years, but they knew the importance of being always attentive to market changes and having good Trends in the engine segment.

It was following these ideals that the company established itself as a world leader in providing energy solutions and looks to the future as something that has already begun. Famous for the production of electric motors, WEG makes strides towards the clean and renewable energies that, in addition to preserving the planet, are equally profitable.

The first solar-powered electric bus in Brazil is proof of this constant search for innovation. The initiative, conceived by the professor of the Solar Energy Strategic Research Group of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Ricardo Rüther, received drives and motors from WEG. This is just one of the company’s projects aimed at generating clean energy.

The bus should begin to circulate in Florianópolis in March and will be used to transport students, teachers and employees of UFSC. The refills of the vehicle will be carried out at the solar power station of the Center for Research and Training in Photovoltaic Solar Energy of the university.

How the UFSC electric bus works

The electric bus was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications and about R $ 1 million was invested in technology. The vehicle will run the 50km route between the campus and the Photovoltaic Solar Energy Research and Training Center at Sapiens Parque and will reduce the time spent traveling by one third.

WEG contributed the project by providing, among other parts, the electric propulsion system of the bus. It takes the energy from the batteries to the drive inverter that controls the motor and delivers the force for the vehicle to move.

The UFSC electric bus also surprises by regenerative braking technology. When they move, the wheels generate energy and when the vehicle brakes, this energy is sent back to the batteries and reused.

The bus was developed following the concept of “Productive Displacement” that ensures that passengers are not idle during the journey. The vehicle has high-speed Wi-Fi internet and has a meeting table for teachers and students to use for academic purposes while traveling.

The electrification of the world

For the engineers Alex Sandro Barbosa and Eduardo José Batista, projects like this represent the future. “There is a worldwide move to exchange energy matrix and WEG is aware of this,” says Alex. They consider that WEG is in a prominent position in the process of electrification that the world is going through.

“We are always one step ahead, seeing the future,” says Alex. One of the company’s first ventures in renewable energy was in 2003 with the electric car driven by Werner Voigt during a parade on 7 September.

Alex and Eduardo explain that electricity can be obtained from sources other than fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. “The use of sunlight and wind in wind power are the most common examples,” says Eduardo.

Engineers are emphatic about the importance of investing in renewable sources. “By 2050, there are probably no more fossil fuel vehicles,” says Alex.

According to the UN, when we think of urban mobility, private vehicles can not be the priority. Therefore, the organization advises that the largest investments in sustainable technologies should be directed to public transport vehicles.

WEG follows this policy and spares no effort in producing renewable energy solutions for buses and trolley buses.
Results Partnership

The solar-powered electric bus is not the first exceptional result of the long-standing partnership between UFSC and WEG. In 2015, another collective transportation project powered by solar energy gained national prominence: a boat used by students from the riverside community of Ilha das Onças, in Barcarena, Pará.

The boat has electric motors and inverters produced by WEG, which are responsible for the water-cooled propulsion system. In addition, the boat has a battery bank with autonomy for five hours of navigation and capacity to accommodate 22 people.
Energy of the winds

Like sunlight, wind energy can also be used to generate electricity, and WEG has invested in this alternative. In 2016, the company reduced the cost of wind turbines in order to conquer the foreign market.

Considering that Brazil is on the list of the largest producers of wind energy in the world, according to a survey by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the strategy is more than right.

In an interview with Época Negócios magazine, WEG’s director of wind energy, João Paulo Gualberto, revealed that the company already adds 700 megawatts in wind turbines sold, which will guarantee the full occupation of the plant by the middle of 2018.

For him, the government should also contribute to the growth of this market. “The government has to look at the wind sector with a strategic vision,” said Gualberto.
Pride in belonging

Engineers Alex Barbosa and Eduardo Batista do not hide their pride in working for a company that is always on the lookout for the future. Eduardo, who acted as coordinator and analyst of the bus project, is grateful for the opportunity.

“I am immensely happy to participate in this unique and innovative moment. Initiatives like this represent a future that has already arrived and only depends on demand and public policies to launch, “says Eduardo.

Alex Barbosa also recognizes the innovative role of WEG. “I am grateful to work here seeking technologies allied to a future need that is electric mobility,” he says. “Looking at the global market, I can not find any products that have been made that WEG does not have the ability to do,” he says.

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