The Flemish public transport company De Lijn has ordered 60 electric buses from Van Hool and VDL for delivery from the fourth quarter of next year. The order for the necessary charging infrastructure goes in equal parts to the two suppliers Spie-Ekoenergetyka and Heliox.
With the award of the contract, the Flemish transport company is tackling its ambition to make its entire fleet emission-free by 2035: The 60 electric buses are the first firm order of a framework tender for 350 battery-electric buses and the charging infrastructure required for their operation, which was made public in June. According to De Lijn, eleven candidates participated in the tender for this first tranche, among which Van Hool came first and VDL second.
Accordingly, Van Hool will supply 36 electric buses and VDL the remaining 24. Each of them will be a 12-metre long solo bus. In parallel, De Lijn has also ordered the charging infrastructure for the electric buses. The suppliers Spie-Ekoenergetyka and Heliox will be used. The transport company’s announcement does not provide any further details on the charging solutions ordered.
The board of the Flemish public transport company had given the green light at the beginning of June for the publication of a framework tender for 350 purely electric buses and the charging infrastructure necessary for their operation. At the time, De Lijn put the value at between 190 and 230 million euros. The first tranche now ordered accounts for just under 28 million euros of this, with subsidies of an unspecified amount flowing from the EU’s ‘NextGenerationEU’ programme.
In the first electrification phase, De Lijn wants to integrate three of its bus depots, namely Genk-Winterslag, Destelbergen near Ghent and Kortrijk. In the process, the depots will be “adapted to the new vehicles” (i.e. receive the charging stations), and the staff at the locations will also be trained accordingly, De Lijn said in an earlier announcement.
Since 2019, the company has exclusively procured buses with alternative drives. Previously, however, these were only buses with hybrid drives – for example, 200 hybrid buses at VDL. “In short: these orders show that De Lijn is serious about innovating together,” says Ann Schoubs, general director of De Lijn. The goal in the Flemish coalition agreement to use only zero-emission buses in the cities from as early as 2025 was abandoned because of the high costs – up to 970 electric buses were to be procured in the short term.
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