In the Spanish capital Madrid, the municipal public transport company EMT has inaugurated the first ‘Línea Cero’, which is operated exclusively by electric buses and can also be used free of charge. This first ‘zero line’ is operated with ten electric buses from the Spanish manufacturer Irizar.
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The route of the electric buses runs mainly around the Gran Vía, the main artery of the city. It will run along Calle Alcalá in the east and Calle Princesa between Atocha and Moncloa in the west, according to an accompanying press release. On weekdays, the “Línea Cero” bus stops will be served every seven to eight minutes during rush hour, and every ten minutes on Saturdays and public holidays.
Ten copies of Irizar’s ‘ie bus’ model will be used. The twelve-metre-long vehicles have 28 seats and can carry a total of 75 passengers. According to the press release, the 230-kW motor of the electric buses is powered by five batteries each. The range is “between 100 and 150 kilometres depending on the driving cycle and weather conditions, which in a city with heavy traffic such as Madrid corresponds to a journey time of 17 hours”, the manufacturer says.
The second zero bus line is scheduled to go into operation in March. The initiative is being driven forward by Madrid’s city administration together with the municipal Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT) to promote the use of public transport in line with the ‘Madrid 360‘ strategy. With this strategy, the capital of Spain has set itself high sustainability goals, including the complete retrofitting of the EMT bus fleet as an objective.
Only last summer EMT had ordered the construction of 20 electric buses from Irizar. This was already the second order from Madrid. Only in February 2018 15 electric buses of the manufacturer were put into operation by EMT. But the public transport operator does not rely solely on Irizar. In 2019, the Madrileneans also commissioned BYD to deliver 15 electric buses.
Update 26 March 2020: After EMT inaugurated the first free electric bus line in Madrid as described above, the second so-called Línea Cero has now also gone into operation in the Spanish capital. As ETM manager Alfonso Sánchez Vicente explained in an interview, the public transport operator wants to phase out all diesel buses by 2022. As a replacement, 50 electric buses are to be procured this year and 100 each in the following years. By 2027, one-third of the ETM bus fleet will consist of electric buses and two-thirds of gas-powered buses.
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