All Public Buses In Amsterdam Will Be EVs By 2025

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The Dutch city of Amsterdam is going all electric, with regards to public buses that is.

The city is planning for the transition from diesel buses (what’s in use now) to electric ones to be complete by 2025, reportedly.


As humorously put by the city’s transport alderman Abdeluheb Choho in an interview with the Volkskrant, the city has decided to simply go all out rather than be conservative (a bit out of character for the Dutch, I’d say 🙂 ).

“This project means we are saying goodbye to symbolic behaviour and pilot projects. We have decided to just do it, not to experiment with five buses.”

The plan is reportedly that the first 40 electric buses will be delivered in roughly 2 years time, with all diesel buses being slowly phased out, until there are none left (by 2025 at the latest).

Choho also noted: “We will make Amsterdam more sustainable on a large scale, and we do that with partners who have big ambitions. Front-runners such as the GVB deserve a podium and imitation.” provides a bit more information:

The ferries over the IJ between the city centre and Noord will also be powered by green electricity.

Amsterdam is not the first city to focus on electricity-powered public transport. Brabant has introduced some battery-driven buses and small-scale experiments are under way in Utrecht and Maastricht. Bus company Abellio, which is 100% owned by Dutch national railway firm NS, has also pledged to ensure the 300 buses operating in Limburg province are electric if it wins the concession. The six buses on the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog are also electric.

Good call, I’d say. With the substantial savings to be had, why not just make the transition relatively rapidly? Why stick with behavior that is more or less just “symbolic” (as Choho put it)? Sure, there is a sunk cost the city will lose (the non-electric buses it has already purchased). But there are daily costs to resident health that come from the diesel pollution.

Image Credit: GVB

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

35 thoughts on “All Public Buses In Amsterdam Will Be EVs By 2025

  • The fact that all their buses will be all electric by 2025 is nothing special to me. It just makes so much sense that you can be sure that Amsterdam won’t be the only city to achieve that goal.
    The special thing is to make it official. Once you make it official there is no going back. It also may push other citys to do the same which would otherwise be hesitant to go all in.

    So good job Amsterdam! Which city will make it official next? Any bets?

      • Also keep an eye on those chinese citys!

      • Ruters plan in Oslo is 900 ev-busses and 300 bio-gas busses in 2020, they start testing 2016 in large scale.

  • If they’re taking until 2025 to complete it the last diesel buses will be clapped out. So the only sunk cost will come from rising sea-level.

  • 2025 says they are not planning to fire sale the bus they already have. A diesel bus they got last year will only be 11 years only, so it will get a early retirement. Would sooner be better, yes. But this is a least a plan to go “all out” on ICE buses.

    • “A diesel bus they got last year will only be 11 years only, so it will get a early retirement.” That is actually quite conservative. A number of cities stopped ordering diesel buses – nearly a decade ago!

  • The good news is that they think the technology is mature enough to not need any pilots and evaluations. It is more an operational decision;.

    • Amsterdam, nice place for a “fact finding” trip for municipal politicians to see the buses in operation.

    • Yes, I’m very happy to see that. I think others in similar shoes should really take note. BYD’s electric buses have done very well in pilot programs on just about every continent. Transit agencies are not going to hide the results and sabotage each other. I think the time for pilots is over, and cities should start ordering these buses en masse.

      • BYD isn’t the only company, either. There are at least *four* other Chinese companies in the Chinese domestic market making hundreds of buses every year. The US market leader, New Flyer, is now making perfectly good battery-electric buses in large quantities. I’m not up to date on the European manufacturers’ situation…

        …but this is going to be a crowded market. It isn’t like Tesla, which has no real competition in the luxury sedan market. ALL the makers of city buses realize that electric is the future and they’re all going all-in with really good models. The competition will be fierce.

    • And let me add what others have found: lifecycle cost is ~the same as with diesel buses. Range is not a problem — buses can pack *a lot* of batteries.

      If the cost is the same, and you are going to be improving public health a great deal (saving $ from an economics point of view) while fighting climate change, this is a total no-brainer, imho.

      • To play devils advocate. This is still pretty new tech. And there are NGO specialists who says that’s wrong. And this guys in NFP organizationos somehow have the money to aproach decision makers from every side. So it’s not easy for political to make such a decision. Even if for bystander it seems obvious.
        Even more I’m impressed that Europe does it first. I’d bet for China with their smog, own BYD lobby and high numbers of engineers among politicians.

        • China actually already did it first. Only a few articles have made it to the English-language press, but there are already *thousands* of battery-electric buses on the streets of various Chinese cities, from at least five different Chinese manufacturers.

  • Here in London the motto is ‘too little, too late’, all double decker buses in **central** London will be hybrid by 2020. Not all of London, not fully electric. TFL is run by dinosaurs.

    • Not much progress then. My father (deceased) as a young mechanic worked on hybrid buses around 1926 in London. There used to be an example in the London Transport Museum that I remember seeing in 1974. On the inside of the bus the seats ran lengthwise for the length of the bus on both sides and the traction batteries were accessed by lifting those seats (I can’t remember now if they were lead acid or NiFe chemistry). So an idea at least 89 years old.

  • I imagine some of this time will be redoing infra-structure. There needs to be a planning process, charging stations, retraining the maintenance workers, budgeting. Even with a decision made today, it’s usually 2 years before checks to buy vehicles can be cut and it’s probably a 3 year process to get the charging points up. If they pushed they could do the entire conversion in 5 years, but, without emergency funding it will take a while

  • “We have decided to just do it, not to experiment with five buses.” Frame it.

    • Working life for a big city bus is supposed to be 12 years. In reality it varies from 8 to 12.

  • They tested BYD electric busses in Brussels in 2013.
    They weren’t good enough.
    They bought 172 diesel busses in 2014. :-/
    Come on MIVB/STIB, go to Amsterdam for a fact-finding study.

    • The MIVB test report said that the BYD worked well overall, but didn’t come close to its advertised range on the cobblestone hills of Brussels. That’s a problem flat-as-a-billiard Amsterdam won’t face.

      MIVB won’t buy any new pure diesel buses from this year onwards, so that’s something. They’re currently looking at CNG or diesel hybrid for their next round. Both are much better than the current models.

      De Lijn has a trial with 3 pure electric buses in Brugge. Since that’s a flat, compact city, the results should be much better. If everything goes well, De Lijn is considering electric buses on all its urban lines.

      No idea what TEC is up to.

      • Is that report public and published somewhere?
        Can’t find it because this raises a couple of questions.
        What difference do cobblestones make wrt range?
        It is hilly here, sure, but doesn’t regen braking compensate on the downslope?
        Has there been progress since on the BYD busses in the meantime to make them worth reconsidering?

        • I don’t know if it’s public. My father works for the Flemish government and one of his friends who works on transport told me. This news story backs him up though:

          The MIVB did require the bus to run an entire day without recharging in the test programme. If the number of charge points expands in the coming years, it might be possible to do a quick top up charge during the day. That would of course change things entirely.

          Why do cobblestones matter? Parasitic linear motion (upward and downward motions consume energy). That’s why Mercedes, VW and others are experimenting with regenerative suspensions that turn lost energy from cobblestones, potholes and such like into electricity. God knows we need that here in Belgium 😉

          Linear motion alone can consume 200W when driving at 50km/h on a moderately bad road in a compact car. That’s huge. Source:

          As for the hills: yes, regenerative braking reduces wasted energy considerably. However, energy use per mile will always be higher than on a flat surface as regenerative brakes aren’t 100% efficient.

          The BYD bus has no doubt fallen in price. That might make the MIVB more willing to overlook its less-than-advertised range. But that’s conditional on the government and/or private sector speeding up the construction of charge points.

          • True, there are some cobblestone streets in the centre of brussels. But is the majority of the typical route paved with these? I think not.

            Although I fully believe kinetic energy is wasted, it’s another argument for battery electric busses with a regenerative shock absorber since they can of course store the energy. A diesel bus also wasts fuel on cobblestones…

            I agree that regen braking will not compensate. That was a silly proposition.

          • That 200W is measured for a compact car. Parasitic loss scales exponentially with mass (as does road wear, but that’s another topic).

            Just to be clear here: I’m not arguing electric buses aren’t viable in Brussels. All I said was that (a) the BYD bus did not get its stated range and (b) that it didn’t have sufficient capacity to run a full day.

            (a) cannot be changed. But (b) can be solved with even a limited deployment of fast chargers. The problem is that MIVB is already investing a lot of money elsewhere (renewing the tram fleet and increasing the bus frequency on certain lines) and a switch to electric isn’t a current priority.

          • A compromise for (a):
            You buy *some* electric busses now and use them on routes where the range is attainable. Then all the while you gain more and more expertise and amortize the initial costs due to less fuel and maintenance costs.

            In the meantime, battery technology continues to evolve until those electric busses can be retroffited with batteries with better energy density. Making them usable on longer routes.
            That’s also what electric vehicles are about: replacing and upgrading the battery is technically perfectly possible.

            I agree with (b). They can even begin installing solar panels on their depots. They are pretty cheap now.

          • B) Limited deployment of chargers. – Don’t recall now the details but there is quite simple solution. Usually bus go for 5minutes then stop for 30seconds. And you can just put piece of wire over bus stop so it can draw “few” kW for 20 secons every few minutes. That allows to have small cheap battery and run all day long.

          • Pantograph charging certainly is an option, but it’s not supported by BYD or any other tested supplier like Van Hool.

            There is a Finnish startup developing a fast charge system using a traditional pantograph and Proterra uses a big huge pantograph-like device on the back of the bus. Neither are active in Europe though.

            I for one would still put my money on the return of the good old trolleybus, perhaps with a very small battery pack for unforseen detours.

            They are cheaper in the long run (overhead wires are almost maintenance free once built, whereas battery packs have a limited lifespan), are a mature technology and are more environmentally friendly (the buses are lighter, so less PM emissions from road and tyre wear as well as lower energy use per mile).

            Especially in cities that already have an overhead wire network for trams, extending those wires shouldn’t face too much local opposition and could be fairly cheap.

          • The best solution will be induction charging. Charing starts
            automatically as the bus enters the bus-stop. The losses for high-power induction charging is (according to Qualcomm Halo) approx 3-5%

            There are some electric busses in Norway. They have some dedicated stops where the driver has to go out of the bus and connect a wire to the batteries for fast-charging. The bus uses a 249 KWh lithium battery (160Wh/kg) and runs 350 km/day, 70.000 km/yr.

            Current charging solution with physical connection by the driver I don’t see as the best one. Reminds me of earlier days when the driver had to stop by a gas station
            for refuel. One practical issue is the weather on the west coast of Norway. Windy and rainy, I can tell.

          • Can enough charge be delivered fast enough with inductive charging?

            With plug in the cables can be huge. And the plugging process automated. (We’ve already got automated gas pumps.)

          • Some of the benefits with induction charging is that you can locate the induction charging stations several places. This opens up some aspects:

            First, you can have electric busses in routes that goes further away since the charging stations are located not only in dedicated areas where the drives has a longer stop, but several places where there is a bus stop. I’ve also seen drawings showing induction charging just beneath the road itself making it possible to charge while driving. ex up hill.

            Secondly, since the charging stations are located in several bus stops, the charge needed is less since the batteries are charged more often. Super charging (with todays batt. chem) may not be the best solution for the batteries in the long run. A more “slow” charge is somewhat better.

            Third, the bus driver does not need to spend time connecting a wire to the batteries. As a route-bus stops more than 100 times during a regular busy working day (3 shifts), the more effective a connection can be made, the more time the bus can spend focusing on charging

            Forth, less load on local grid. Lets say 20 busses stops in a larger bus stop, and they all super charge at the same time, they will shortly consume possible more than a couple of megawatts. There are still ways to solve need for much power over short time using larger stationary batteries, ref Tesla power wall.

          • I’m not against inductive charging, just questioning its ability to move large amounts of energy in a hurry.

            There’s no reason why drivers would have to manually connect to a charger. That’s very simple automation. Raise the connector to make contact with the overhead outlet.

            If more power can be moved with a direct connection then there is less need for a larger number of inductive chargers.

            With either connected or inductive charging the actual time of charging can be based on bus schedules and the draws spread over time.

            The only issues are 1) which works out to the quickest way to charge and 2) system cost.

        • BYD have announced the replacement model for the K9 which everybody tested. The C9 (link) has a claimed range of 190 miles and better acceleration. It shpuld meet the specs of picky operators like Brussels and Warsaw.

  • For city buses, with a start-stop duty cycle, the economics of replacing gasoline/diesel/CNG buses with battery-electrics is *so* overwhelming that I expect *all* city buses to be electric by 2025.

    No energy usage when idling; regenerative braking; they pay for the extra cost of batteries very quickly.

    • And not to forget; Silence… In urban areas with houses close up to the bus road, the benefit of noise reduction is not to be forgotten. As the driver pushes the pedal, the bus shoud move, not generate noise

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