The Leipzig transport authority (LVB) has ordered their first electric buses for use in regular service and awarded the contract to the Dutch manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach. They are to supply 21 electric buses to Saxony by the end of this year.
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The use of VDL’s electric 12-metre buses is planned on lines 74, 76 and 89. Besides, an extension to the articulated bus line 60 is in preparation. The invitation to tender for the planned articulated electric buses is to be issued before the end of 2020, with delivery scheduled for 2022.
LVB does not refer to technical specifications of the ordered vehicles in the notification. The charging concept is not described in detail, either. With the Citea SLF Electric, VDL has a 12-metre low-floor bus in its range – vehicles of this type are already in operation in Münster, for example. With the Citea SLFA 181 Electric, the Dutch company is also offering an 18.1-metre-long electric articulated bus for further tendering – the electric articulated bus is used in Osnabrück, for example. The Citea Electric models can be charged by cable in the depot, but also by pantograph on the road.
Following a feasibility study, the LVB supervisory board has already decided in 2018 to gradually move into the procurement of electric buses, as Ronald Juhrs, LVB Managing Director Technology and Operations, says. The current technology and market situation do not yet allow a total renunciation of diesel drives. According to the LVB communication, the procurement is to be supplemented with diesel buses “to meet the highest exhaust emission standards and efficient drive technology to reduce emissions in traffic further” – the talk is of 50 new diesel buses.
LVB is supported in the procurement by the federal and state governments. While the funding from Berlin is not specified precisely, the Free State of Saxony is supporting the purchase of 16 standard articulated buses and 34 standard scheduled-service buses with 4.3 million euros.
Update 16 June 2020: In the meantime, it is clear which charging technology is to be used in Leipzig. As Siemens has just announced that the company will install charging systems for the 21 VDL buses at the Lindenau bus depot. Each bus should have its own charging point of the Sicharge UC 100 type, which offers a charging capacity of up to 100 kW. Unlike the commonly used cable-access depot chargers, the Sicharge UC 100 is also a pantograph charger, in which the charging arm is lowered from above onto the roof of the bus.
In addition, a total of five Sicharge UC 600 fast charging units will be set up at four terminal stops on lines 74, 76 and 89. According to Siemens, this model has an effective charging power of 450 kW. For connection to the local power grid, the medium-voltage connection, a transformer and low-voltage distribution are integrated into the charging stations with the intention of saving space using a special design with that in mind. The vehicles and the charging infrastructure are scheduled to go into operation in 2021.
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