Electricity supply care of rechargeable battery buses is now possible thanks to Hitachi Ltd. and Hino Motors Ltd. The two companies have been collaborating and developing buses that have rechargeable batteries that can be used to supply electricity in times of disasters.
Intended for use during disaster situations, the companies developed “midsize plug-in hybrid buses for disasters.” The said buses can supply electric power for up to 10 hours a day over a week to a space as big as a gymnasium that acts as an evacuation center, all while in a power-saving mode. A global positioning system is also installed in the bus to help identify safe areas for evacuation during such times. Learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake where big buses proved to be an impediment in passing through narrow roads, they decided to build midsize buses and instead equip it with power supply functions.
A test-drive was conducted for a week in December in the city of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture. Studies were made to collect data on how road slopes and numbers of passengers could affect the power consumption from the bus. Results from the analysis of data will help both Hitachi and Hino establish guidelines on the utilization of the buses, including locations for charging the vehicle during disaster times.