More and more public transport operators are experiencing converted buses in test operation. German start-up e-troFit announces it has increased the test capacities of its series vehicles for potential fleet operators by expanding its pool of demonstration vehicles. The offer of no-obligation trials is proving popular, and numerous trials are underway in the public transport sector.

Converted buses on trials around Germany

The company debuted in 2019 at the UITP Summit in Stockholm. At the exhibition e-troFit presented a retrofit solution for city buses. Axles and drivetrain are provided by ZF, while batteries come from Voltabox. According to e-troFit’s forecast, 8,000 buses are to be converted to electric drives until 2030. The company recently signed a preferred partnership with Paul Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH.

“As a developer and manufacturer of innovative electrification kits for commercial vehicles, we are successively expanding our fleet of test vehicles. Our goal is to offer interested municipal utilities, transportation companies, and private public transport fleet operators the opportunity to extensively test our electric drive system, which meets the toughest quality and safety standards in scheduled service,” explains Alexander Lietz, Head of Bus Sales D/A/CH at e-troFit GmbH.

The shift to electromobility will benefit from new federal funding guidelines expected in the second half of 2021 and the associated equal treatment of the procurement of converted and new vehicles.

Once the arrangements for the test have been agreed and the test period specified, an e-troFit service team will provide on-site instruction on the vehicle and its technology. The briefing can also take place virtually, depending on your wishes and taking into account the current coronavirus regulations and required safety measures, and on-site contact can be limited exclusively to the handover of the series-production vehicle.

e-troFit, further tests to be carried out

Tests conducted during the second quarter of 2021 included those at Verkehrsgesellschaft Kirchweihtal in Allgäu, Regiobus Idar-Oberstein, Regiobus Potsdam-Mittelmark, and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein. There is also considerable interest in e-troFit’s series-production vehicles from around the world. For example, SAD, based in Bolzano in South Tyrol, is currently testing deployment in scheduled service – in a challenging alpine region extending to the mountain passes of the Dolomites. Further tests for example at Stadtbus Bad Kreuznach GmbH (Transdev Verkehr GmbH) are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Michael Bechteler, Managing Director of Verkehrsgesellschaft Kirchweihtal in Kaufbeuren, expressed his satisfaction after the one-week trial, during which the bus was tested in regular service as a backup as well as on school bus services. As mentioned in e-troFit press release, he said: “We were able to see for ourselves the quality, reliability and ride comfort of the converted buses during test operations. For us, retrofitting is the key to getting started with electric mobility fast.”

Martin Scharf, Managing Director of Scharf OHG Omnibus & Reisebüro, commented: “Power consumption in particular is an important key metric for day-to-day operating costs. The vehicle’s highly efficient use of energy impressed us – as did the entire e-troFit solution package featuring a smart charging infrastructure.”


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