Rollon Innovates for Eco-friendly E-buses

Los Angeles plans an all-electric bus fleet by 2030. Europe’s fleet will be 40% electric by 2025. Growth continues in China, which already operates 99% of the world’s electric buses. It’s a high-impact trend considering that for every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are displaced daily.

As environmental policies drive this rapid shift to electric solutions, it’s the technology that makes it possible. All aspects of electric vehicle (EV) engineering have advanced to the point where e-buses offer zero emissions, are efficient and reliable and make long-term financial sense — right down to the telescopic rails in every unit’s battery box.

In Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, those telescopic rails are all equipped with Rollon by Timken linear motion products. Rollon is the region’s exclusive telescopic rail provider for EV bus battery boxes that open and close frequently for battery maintenance, recharging and replacement.

Rollon telescopic rails handle high load capacity and offer full or overextended strokes. That means a battery box can be completely extracted from a compartment (without being totally removed from the bus), giving maintenance professionals complete access to all the equipment within.

Sustainable products that benefit multiple eco-friendly industries

Pavel Vaganov is the business manager for Rollon in Russia. He says it’s a Rollon philosophy to accumulate expertise and apply it across different industries.

“We’re bringing the same value to EV bus manufacturers as we have for electric rail operators,” he says. “Our application engineering expertise and innovation in electrified applications offer our customers a competitive advantage, because we help their systems work better.”

In an extreme electric rail engineering feat, Rollon custom-created telescopic rails extract and support one-ton (1,000 kg) of battery box equipment over just 5 ft. (1.5 meters) in an all-electric, double decker passenger train.

EV bus manufacturers don’t have nearly those requirements but managing the weight of their expensive and integral components requires similar engineering priorities. They need to be designed for long life and provide end customers — usually cities and municipalities — with easier maintenance and a lower total cost of ownership. Rollon solutions allow for full extraction of battery boxes in EV buses, reducing the time and effort required to recharge and sustain them while improving the safety of those doing the maintenance.

Our application engineering expertise and innovation in electrified applications offer our customers a competitive advantage, because we help their systems work better.

Pavel Vaganov
Business Manager, Rollon

Customization for local bus designs and charging infrastructure

Pavel notes that all Rollon telescopic rail solutions have optimal running properties due to inductively hardened raceways. Each rail uses stainless steel balls to avoid corrosion and special grease to operate smoothly in temperatures from negative 60 to 120 degrees Celsius (negative 72 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit). Some customizations are required to accommodate different EV bus configurations, which are driven by the local charging infrastructure.

“In Moscow, bus operators prefer batteries on the roof (above left) because the city has the infrastructure to charge them that way throughout the day,” Vaganov says. “In St. Petersburg, they charge buses at night from the side of the road, so the battery boxes are located at the back end of the bus (above right) for easier access.”

“Our customers have learned they can rely on Rollon because our products are designed for high durability,” Vaganov says. “We offer up to 40 years of service life without the need for telescopic rail replacement — essentially the entire life of the bus. That means less waste, which is also good for the planet.”

From EV buses to global wind energy expansion, Timken enables technology for a more sustainable future. Find out how they are investing in manufacturing to help China meet 20% of its energy needs with renewables by 2030.