The growing electrical power demands on bus electrical systems, such as the electric door operator, power steering, braking, air conditioning, windshield wipers, seat heating, and the need to improve emissions and fuel economy, are making current 12/24-volt electrical systems inadequate. For buses to continue to meet growing customer needs, electrical power must be increased.
The industry is currently pursuing a 42-volt system as standard. In the U.S., that number (42 volts) was selected by an industry-wide research consortium led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The switch to a 42-volt system would revolutionize the automotive industry. This would enable more electronic components and new technologies to be added to the vehicle.
At the present time, the discussion and implementation of the 42-volt system is largely on luxury vehicles. The potential benefit of the system on heavy duty vehicles has not been fully explored. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impact and demand of the 42-volt system on transit buses.