Ebusco delivered 60 of its 12-meter Ebusco 2.2 electric buses to transit operator Qbuzz in the Netherlands. The new buses were brought into the service area in grand fashion, as a parade of the titans traveled the 250 kilometers into Groningen for the official delivery.
The new buses went into service on December 15th and will provide service to residents in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe, where Ebusco hopes to provide not just new vehicles, but an entirely new transit experience for passengers. For starters, the new fully electric buses are much quieter than the clunky combustion buses they are replacing. The clatter of the large engine has been replaced by an electric motor that emits little more than a whine as it propels the bus along its route.
With 350 kilometers of range per charge, the new buses have been kitted out on the inside to support passengers over a longer haul. “Travelers will really experience a new travel experience” says Steven van der Burg, who supervised the project from Ebusco. “There are USB ports for telephone charging and comfortable seats are installed for the long distance. There is also a lot of daylight in the bus and no engine noise.”
For safety around pedestrians, the new buses have a tram bell sound that operates at low speeds to inform those nearby the bus of its approach. Electric vehicles are required to emit an audible noise in the EU, but regulations aside, it actually makes sense for transit buses to emit noises due to their proximity to a high volume of pedestrians.
These new electric buses from Ebusco with 350 kilometers of range per charge prove that longer range, intercity bus routes can also be electrified. The new buses are opening up the possibility for transit operators to electrify new routes for the first time. “This mainly has to do with the range of an electric bus,” says Peter Bijvelds, director of Ebusco. “The last generation regional buses from Ebusco have a range of up to 400 kilometers. This allows the buses to be charged via a plug, so there is no need of a fast charging infrastructure to be set up in the region. As a result, Qbuzz has been able to purchase more new electric buses and reduces more emissions.”
Ahead of the delivery, Ebusco’s experts met with Qbuzz bus drivers, team leaders, and transport assistants for training on the new buses.
Electric buses not only eliminate a source of chronic local air pollution, they directly contribute to a reduction in noise levels along the routes they serve. While it is possible to quantify the changes in air pollution and noise levels, it is more difficult to communicate them to stakeholders as there isn’t always a clear way to tie them to financial or quality of life improvements. Just the same, residents being served by fully electric routes will notice the change.
While in Shenzhen, China last year, a city served by more than 16,000 BYD electric buses, the difference in noise levels in the city center was tangible. The air was far fresher than we expected to encounter in a city boasting more than ten million residents. Similarly, the streets were full of cars and energy, but they did not feel as chaotic as those in most metropolitan cities around the world. Shenzhen and its partner in BYD are truly building the city up as an example for others to see and experience as they map out their own electrified future.