Deutsche Bahn, the German rail operator, has announced it is modernizing its bus fleet at a cost of around €400 million. The new buses will go into service between now and 2026. Ebusco (catchy name, huh?) in the Netherlands will supply 260 of its battery-electric buses to Deutsche Bahn between now and 2024. Deutsche Bahn already has experience with Ebusco, which is known for its light, modern, and affordable electric buses. Many of them are already in operation in different German cities, including Berlin.
In a press release, Deutsche Bahn says, “With around 420 million passengers in 2021, Deutsche Bahn is the largest provider in German bus transport. DB Regio operates more than 10,000 buses in almost 300 districts and urban districts. DB Regio Bus thus ensures local public transport, connection to the climate-friendly rail system and participation in mobility in large parts of Germany.”
That’s The Good News On Electric Buses
Deutsche Bahn also says it will purchase 900 diesel-powered buses from Volkswagen subsidiary MAN Truck & Bus. The German busmaker will only supply buses with combustion engines, even though it also manufactures battery-electric buses. Some of the buses from MAN may be hybrids but no details have been released on that subject, according to Electrive.
There is still the possibility that MAN will also deliver some electric buses to Deutshe Bahn. There are contingency plans in place in case Ebusco cannot fulfill its contract due to to supply chain issues. In that case, some electric buses will be sourced from MAN while the diesel versions will come from Scania. In any event, the ratio of electric to diesel buses will remain about the same.
Electrive points out the similarity between this contract and the deal USPS made with Oshkosh Defense for postal delivery vehicles that will be mostly powered by gasoline engines. The warnings from the scientific community are real. The red lights are flashing. We either change our ways and get off fossil fuels or suffer the consequences. And yet, the message isn’t getting through as organizations like Deutsche Bahn and USPS continue to pursue a go slow, business as usual approach.
“The core issue is still the same,” Electrive says. “A government agency buys public service vehicles running on fossil fuels despite the current climate and geopolitical crises.” Those vehicles will still be in service, belching out climate- and people-killing pollutants and propping up oil-soaked lunatics in Moscow, Riyadh, Baku, Canberra, and Caracas for decades to come. Governments will pay lip service to environmental concerns while continuing in lock step with past practices. This is not going to end well.
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