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Maxwell Ultracapacitor Transportation Solutions

Carbon emissions, the depletion of natural resources, traffic congestion and the rising costs of fossil fuels are all issues pushing the world to search for alternative means of transportation. Mass-transit buses, fleet vehicles, long-haul trucks and other heavy-transportation vehicles such as trains, light rail, trams and metros, all benefit from the adoption of a hybrid power train approach with the use of ultracapacitors. Every day, in over 20,000 buses from China to Italy, Maxwell ultracapacitors are enabling hybrid and all-electric drive vehicles to save fuel and reduce emissions. Consequently, primary energy demand and maintenance costs can be considerably reduced.

Ultracapacitors quickly capture energy from braking and then use that energy to provide a short burst of power during acceleration and to dramatically reduce the use of fuel in a conventional internal combustion engine or battery drain in an electric/hybrid system. Maxwell ultracapacitors are compact, high-performance, have exceptionally long-life and fulfill many of the functions of batteries but with dramatically higher reliability and are virtually impervious to any climate condition.

Heavy transportation vehicles - such as trains, trams and metros - place particular demands on energy storage devices. Such devices must be very robust and reliable, displaying both long operational lifetimes and low maintenance requirements. Further, the devices must operate efficiently under harsh conditions including handling peak currents, high duty cycles and frequent deep discharging. Maxwell Technologies solved these issues with its ultracapacitor HTM125 module for braking energy recuperation and torque assist systems in trains, trams and metro transportation vehicles.

Download our Ultracapacitor Bus Application Brief



Maxwell Ultracapacitor Transportation Quick Facts:

  • Fuel economy 76 percent better than conventional gasoline-powered buses and 22 percent better than diesel-powered buses
  • Scalable for 6 to 16 liter engines
  • The only e-mark ultracapacitor module for transportation 2004/104/EEC
  • Higher resistance to heat and fire – lasts longer than batteries that may explode
  • A green, maintenance-free energy storage and power-delivery solution

Maxwell Ultracapacitor Transportation Applications:

Maxwell ultracapacitors can be used to complement batteries or replace batteries altogether in buses and trucks, including these solutions:

  • Regenerative Braking Systems
    Maxwell ultacapacitors can absorb and store virtually all kinetic energy from a braking system. The emission-free stored electrical energy in ultracapacitors is then available to assist in acceleration, to reduce fuel consumption and accompanying emissions or battery drain, as well as power the air conditioner, operate power steering or perform other electrical functions. As an added bonus, regenerative braking takes most of the load off mechanical brakes, reducing brake maintenance and replacement expenses.
  • Start-Stop Technology Gets a Boost from Ultracapacitors
    Start-stop technology enables the engine in conventional, electric or hybrid-electric delivery trucks and refuse vehicles to shut down when they come to a stop at a red light, picking up or dropping off passengers, or when sitting in traffic. Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitors then provide a short burst of energy that restarts the motor. With 100 percent reliability at temperatures from -25oC to 45oC, low lifecycle cost, and the ability to capture energy from regenerative braking. Maxwell ultracapacitors can save millions of barrels of oil as well as improve fuel economy 76 percent over conventional gasoline-only powered vehicles.
  • Bus and Truck Starter Systems
    Maxwell ultracapacitors provide a lower cost of ownership for trucks and fleets and prevent lost down time due to no-start, overnight “hotel” loads, and are especially beneficial for heavy-duty vehicles in cold climates or that require repetitive starts. Trucks place heavy demand on energy storage devices and depend on the reliability of ultracapacitors, but the real benefit comes in removing up to three lead acid batteries, freeing up under-hood and step-well space, enabling load stabilization and preventing “brown out.” Starter systems for buses in cold climates eliminate morning idle heat up and the cost of jump starting.

As design engineers have found, batteries have high-energy capability while the ultracapacitors have high power capability. In an optimal hybrid alternative drive system, both technologies could be combined in a way that maximizes the benefits of both.



Maxwell Ultracapacitor Transportation Customer Applications:

  • Siemens Sitras
  • NYC Hybrid Buses
  • Voith Hybrid Buses

Maxwell Ultracapacitor Transportation Products:

Maxwell Technologies offers the most comprehensive ultracapacitor product line for the transportation industry. The time for efficient and environmentally-friendly energy storage and management has come and Maxwell’s ultracapacitor solutions have proven themselves to fulfill this requirement.


  • 125V Heavy Transportation Module
    This module stores more energy per unit volume, delivers more power per unit volume and weight, and lasts longer than any other commercially-available ultracapacitor solution. Especially designed for vehicles requiring the highest power performance available with shock and vibration immunity. (Hybrid buses and trucks)
  • 48V Ultracapacitor Module
    This module provides efficient cooling and a maximum continuous current of 90A without compromising reliability. Used primarily with hybrid buses and train engine starting systems.
  • 16V Ultracapacitor Module
    Engine starting systems for buses.
  • K2 Ultracapacitor Cells
    A solution for hybrid train systems where the ultracapacitor is integrated into custom modules.

Maxwell Technologies offers the most comprehensive ultracapacitor product line for the transportation industry. The time for efficient and environmentally-friendly energy storage and management has come and Maxwell’s ultracapacitor solutions have proven themselves to fulfill this requirement. These solutions are an essential part in today’s innovative, efficient hybrid system for public transportation and heavy transportation applications, allowing an increase in power efficiency and a reduction in fuel consumption and global CO2 emissions. Our commitment is to help our worldwide customers design and implement ultracapacitor solutions for existing and unique heavy-duty transportation needs.



Ultracapacitors for Transportation Systems

Every day, in over 10,000 buses worldwide, from China to Italy, Maxwell ultracapacitors are enabling hybrid and electric drive vehicles to save fuel and reduce emissions.