The state of Berlin and public transit operator BVG are pushing ahead with the ramp-up phase for the procurement of electric buses and are purchasing a further 90 EVs. Polish manufacturer Solaris secured the contract and will deliver from spring 2020.
The Supervisory Board of BVG greenlighted the order at the beginning of June but had to observe two weeks before announcing the supplier, Solaris. The new order will almost triple BVG’s share of electric buses in the coming year to a total of around 140 electric vehicles.
The Solaris buses of the New Urbino 12 Electric type, already known from the first batch, are 12 metres long and offer space for around 70 passengers. What’s new for the 90 buses now ordered: The heating is exclusively electric.
According to a statement by BVG, the electric buses will charge primarily at the depot. However, opportunity charging can maximise their daily mileage, thus exceeding the nominal range “by far”. In the test operation, the vehicles from the first batch already achieved operating times of 16 operating hours per day, according to the company.
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With the now announced charging at stations, the operator has reacted to criticism from the past weeks. Because they allegedly do not reach the targeted range, the buses are only in half-day operation, after which they have to go to the depot for charging, according to several media outlets. Also, the frequent stop-and-start in dense traffic has increased electric vehicles’ consumption. Hardly a surprise in Berlin’s city traffic, however.
The costs for the 90 new vehicles, including the required charging infrastructure, are estimated at around 61 million euros. According to the BVG, the Federal Transport and Environment Ministries will probably support procurement with about 14 million euros.
BVG has been shopping around lately with Solaris having been an early contender. BVG has been reportedly running a trial with four electric buses from the Polish maker since 2015. Moreover, as reported, the BVG formed a buying community with Hamburg Hochbahn to increase their bargaining power with larger order volumes. Hamburg Hochbahn recently opted to procure electric buses from both Daimler and Solaris.
bvg.de (in German)