The German Ministry for the Environment (BMU) is providing an additional 180 million euros for the purchase of electric buses to select cities exceeding the NOx levels set within the EU. Other towns may also apply for a share of the remaining funds.
Overall, the ministry now holds a total of around 300 million euros available for electric buses for the years up to 2022. This latest increase of the budget is due to to the interest the federal authority received from cities all over Germany.
According to the official statement, this latest funding will help to increase the number of electric buses in the country fivefold. So far, the ministry selected eleven projects to benefit in this latest round, namely the cities of Aachen, Berlin, Bochum/Gelsenkirchen, Darmstadt, Duisburg, Hanover, Kiel, Leipzig, Offenbach am Main, Osnabrück and Wiesbaden.
Still, the EU Commission had to approve the new round of funding first, even though the scheme is in part due to the influence of the union. Germany had been among the countries that were to be taken to the European Court of Justice for failing to respect air quality limits reportedly. While Germany and other states such as France or Britain had proposed additional measures following initial warnings, the EU Commission back then concluded that “the additional measures proposed are not sufficient to comply with air quality standards as soon as possible”. Germany, for example, had suggested free public transport in a sort of panicky action and also decided to push responsibility for diesel bans on municipalities (we reported). The latter have reacted in some cases, and their measures include stricter rules for often municipal public transit operators.
However, back to scheme at hand, which the EU Commission only approved as long as the new funding goes to cities exceeding the levels of NOx. Eligibility comes down to projects that involve the acquisition of more than five vehicles. In the case of all-electric buses, the German state covers 80 perper cent the additional costs (over comparable diesel models), and 40 per cent for PHEV buses. Also, 40 per cent of the costs of charging infrastructure and other expenses, such as training and equipment, will be reimbursed by the ministry.
Interested parties can hand in funding applications until 30 April online.