Hamburger Hochbahn is on a mission to put only electric buses on the streets of Hamburg, Germany, by 2020. You may know Hamburg as the spot where hamburgers were invented, but this is major port city in Germany with over a million people living in it.
Sustainable Bus reported that the German city’s bus fleet, known as Hamburger Hochbahn, will be buying 530 all-electric buses between 2021 and 2025. The fleet already has 20 Mercedes eCitaro and 10 Solaris Urbino 12 electric buses, which are first steps into a plan to introduce no fewer than 530 electric buses by 2025. This plan is part of a larger one to clean up transportation in the city.
The Hamburg Senate wants transport operators to only purchase zero-emission, fully electric buses from 2020 forward. This is a part of Germany’s wider environmental agenda, but it’s notable that Hamburg is one of the first cities to commit to the full electrification of its bus fleet. The end goal is for the city to have only electric buses in its fleet by 2030.
Hochbahn hopes to obtain government subsidies for these investments, and the fund from those subsidies will go toward buses with depot charging, a type of system that charges buses while they are parked (usually overnight). Another type of charging that is on the table is called opportunity charging, where the bus can plug in at the terminal while passengers disembark or embark. A third option is to use hydrogen buses for long-distance services, and there are two already in a trial operation, but hydrogen buses have generally proven uncompetitive with battery-electric buses around the world.
Hamburger Hochbahn Is One Of Many Cities Electrifying Its Fleet
When I was at the Clean Fuels Summit in Louisiana last week, I learned quite a bit about electric buses. On this side of the world, most notably, BYD and Proterra are actively trying to meet this new demand for electrification. BYD, which is headquartered in China but also has a large base in California (which CleanTechnica has toured), just launched its K12A fleet, the world’s longest pure electric buses. Each of these buses holds 250 people and travels at a max speed of 70 km/h. This is also the world’s first electric bus equipped with a distributed 4WD system that can switch between 2WD and 4WD.
In 2017, Shreveport’s bus system, SporTran, teamed up with Proterra to deploy Louisiana’s first battery-electric buses. This makes me proud of my hometown and the local bus system, with just 15 routes that I grew up riding on. I used it to go to both middle school and high school. When I was there, it was a small system that stopped running most routes after 6:00 pm and ran odd hours on Sundays. Now, it’s leading the state in the electrification of bus fleets and has grown into a better system that has doubled its route services.
This was made possible due to SporTran winning a Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Grant, which funded the 5 Proterra buses, 3 depot chargers, and an on-route fast charger. This replacement saved SporTran over $2 million on maintenance and fuel. SporTran will reinvest the savings into Shreveport’s transportation system.
We still have a long ways to go when it comes to embracing electric buses, but the demand is definitely there and it is being pushed worldwide by leaders who listen to the concerns of citizens who want something to be done about buses that have historically produced a lot of diesel emissions.
Featured image: Screenshot from Hochban YouTube video.