Northern German public transport provider Hamburger Hochbahn has announced the technical specifications for the next generation of electric buses they will be looking to purchase.
The Hochbahn plans to purchase up to 530 electric buses between 2021 and 2025 and have launched a Europe-wide tender for a corresponding framework agreement. From the beginning of 2020, Hamburger Hochbahn will only order emission-free vehicles. The total fleet of currently 1,000 vehicles should be converted by 2030.
Not surprisingly, in the key points now published, range remains the most important criterion for the selection of bus models. Vehicles proposed must have a range of 200 kilometres, although the required range for the first articulated buses (50 vehicles) will initially be 150 kilometres due to the higher weight.
According to the invitation to tender, the buses should be charged overnight in the depot. “However, offers are also welcome which, in addition to the depot shop, also allow “opportunity charging” (charging at the terminal stops) in order to increase the range,” writes Hochbahn. People living in Hamburg are quite familiar with both charging technologies: the current electric-buses that have been in use since the end of 2018, only charge at the depot. On the innovation line 109, however, vehicles are also used which are recharged by pantographs during operation via a quick charge.
In the specifications, the transport operator also leaves open the strategic option of purchasing pure hydrogen buses or those with fuel cells as range extenders. Hochbahn is currently testing two such models and intends to initiate an open qualification system for the procurement of fuel cell buses “shortly”. “As soon as our partner Daimler or other bus manufacturers start mass production of electric buses with fuel cells in addition to battery buses, we will also test them for regular service,” explained Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn, in response to the announced completion of the fuel cell bus project. Hochbahn has made sure that it is clear that it has not made any directional decisions for or against any particular drive technology.
In addition, Hochbahn will for the first time include the entire life cycle assessment of the buses in the tender. Sustainability standards for procurement are to be included in the contracts – also for suppliers. In order to cover the additional costs for the e-buses, the Hochbahn is aiming, according to its own information, for a proportionate subsidy from the federal government.
hochbahn.de (in German)