Germany releases funding for another 1,000 electric buses

The Federal Ministry of Transport has released €270 million in funding for around 1,000 electric buses to more than 50 transport companies in Germany. The certificates were handed over in Berlin this week at the international VDV conference.

However, the numbers just published differ slightly. The Federal Ministry of Transport (BMDV) mentions “about 1,000 vehicles” at 52 bus companies, while the VDV speaks of 1,033 e-buses and 59 transport companies. None of the sources published a complete list of beneficiaries.

Which type of drives received the funding is also unclear since the budget can apply to buses powered by CNG or overhead lines, fuel cells, and battery electricity. Past funding rounds, however, saw mainly battery-electric buses being funded.

This is the third round under the ‘Directive for the Promotion of Alternative Drives for Buses in Passenger Transport’ (German: Richtlinie zur Förderung alternativer Antriebe von Bussen im Personenverkehr). According to the BMDV, the ministry has so far granted money for 4,200 electric buses through these funding calls. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), further funding rounds are planned for 2023 and 2024. “We could then expect 500 more e-buses per funding call,” says VDV Vice President Werner Overkamp. The BMDV budget totals €1.25 billion to be made available until 2024 for the procurement of buses and associated charging and refuelling infrastructure.

Last year, the funding was issued in two batches. In April 2022, notifications for 1,600 electric buses were handed over, and in a further round in July, 41 bus operators received commitments for around 1,200 more e-buses.

Among the biggest beneficiaries were Berlin’s transit company BVG and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein, which each ordered 350 electric buses in March this year after receiving the funding in 2022.

Minister for Transport, Volker Wissing, said he was pleased there was “huge demand” for the programme. “It shows that transport companies focus on modern and climate-friendly buses.”

VDV Vice-President Werner Overkamp said, “Hardly any funding is more targeted and drives development in the entire transport sector as effectively as this federal funding programme.” He added federal funding was “indispensable” in the transition. Applications can also be made for feasibility studies.,


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