We often see a bus along our streets running totally empty. It could seem surreal, but in reality it’s an almost normal scenario in every big city, where public transportation vehicles are sized based on the maximum capacity but are unable to adapt to varying demand throughout the day - generically considering peaks in demand due to students, at around 7am and 1pm, and commuters on the way to and from their offices. NEXT answers these issues in its modular bus configuration: it’s a modular electric vehicle, whose size can be modified depending on capacity demand estimates at any point during the day. During peak hours, the vehicle can start its journey with 5 or more connected pods (where feasible) to accommodate peak demand. Depending on the number of pods, the capacity can go up to the same as a 18-meter bus, or even a tram, in cases where it’s feasible to connect more than 5 pods.
During low traffic hours, NEXT can run in a lighter configuration with 2 or 3 pods, keeping the others parked and charging ahead of the next peak period. Therefore, the operational pods consume much less fuel, not only due to being lighter but also because the space occupied by passengers that needs to be cooled or warmed depending on the season is only a fraction of the one of a traditional, fixed capacity bus. Of course, the possibility of reducing length and volume of the bus allows for a general reduction of road traffic.
“We created a sustainable transportation solution, able to adapt the public transport offer to demand determined from historical statistical data”, says Tommaso Gecchelin, founder and CTO of Getplus, the manufacturer of NEXT. “We want to revolutionize public transportation, which is a strategic priority for the city of the future, going beyond the traditional rigidity of the bus with a flexible approach based on integration of data and next-generation vehicles. NEXT implements a new paradigm whereby the offer flexibly adapts to the demand”. NEXT in modular bus configuration offers enormous advantages to the public administration, that can be summarized as follows:
It’s a ZERO emission vehicle.
It uses between 50% and 60% less electricity as compared to a standard electric bus, given it runs only with the minimum necessary number of pods to accommodate demand.
It doesn’t create peak demands on the electric grid, thanks to the possibility to distribute charging needs for the pods not in use, also during the day.
It reduces wear and tear by about 50% for the vehicle as compared to a standard bis, with a result of a longer lifetime and lower maintenance needs for the vehicle.
It’s more resilient: in case one of the pods suffers a failure, the other ones in the convoy will keep running without causing service interruptions.