The 13 e-buses of Stadtwerke Osnabrück are celebrating the first year of operation reaching the threshold of 730,000 km. And the electric ‘share’ of the fleet is set to grow: in February VDL started the production of the next 22 Osnabrück e-articulated buses, that will be followed by another batch of 27 vehicles. In fact, there are still 49 electric buses to be delivered in the German city by the Dutch manufacturer VDL.
Three lines in Osnabrück to be converted to zero emission
The VDL Citea SLFA-181 Electric are in operation on the first purely electrically operated line of Stadtwerke Osnabrück, the public transport operator of the city, which has some 160,000 inhabitants. The vehicles have been on the road for almost 730,000 kilometres, «reliably and almost without any disruption», the public transport company points out in a press release.
And preparations workds are already underway for the conversion of two further MetroBus lines to battery-electric articulated buses, thanks to the next 22 e-buses expected in the city. The new fleet of electric buses is identical to the thirteen buses currently operating in Osnabrück, except for two differences: the new vehicles will be equipped with larger batteries (216 kWh) and will no longer have supplemental fossil fuel heating. The buses will be charged in the depot thanks to 49 slow charging stations (50 kW). Fast charging during service is done via roof-mounted pantographs on the buses.
From summer 2021 the delivery of the last 27 e-buses
Being more specific, the next routes to be converted are the M2 (Landwehrviertel – main station) and M3 (Sutthausen and Hagen a.T.W. – Schinkel-Ost). This week, the transformer for the terminus of the M2 in the Landwehr quarter will be installed. Within the end of this month, the installation of further transformers at the two M3 end terminus in Sutthausen and Hagen a.T.W. will follow.
Looking a bit further ahead, Stadtwerke Osnabrück highlights that from summer 2021 27 more units are waited in the city. They are bound to the lines M4 and M5. “With a total of 62 vehicles, we will then have the largest electric articulated bus fleet in Germany. And we will also be operating all five MetroBus lines, which form the backbone of the new Osnabrück bus network, completely electrically” emphasises Stephan Rolfes, the Stadtwerke’s Mobility Director.
Corona crisis could affect the schedule
However, it is not yet certain when exactly the 22 VDL electric articulated buses will arrive in Osnabrück, the public transport company points out. “The effects of the Corona crisis on VDL’s production in Roeselare, Belgium, cannot yet be assessed with certainty. However, VDL started production at a very early stage, so we continue to expect successive deliveries from summer onwards” explains Stadtwerke project manager Joachim Kossow.
“The timing for a small birthday party could really have been more appropriate than during the current corona crisis,” says again Stephan Rolfes, Director of Stadtwerke Mobility. “We are nevertheless highly satisfied with the first year of operation. And what is even more important: so are our passengers. Our vehicles ran reliably even in the hot summer of 2019, charging at the terminus stops and at the depot worked fine, and continues to do so, almost without a hitch”.
“Works on the additional charging infrastructure in the bus depot has already been underway since February,” adds André Kränzke, Head of Transport Operations. “The additional vehicles will then be charged here overnight.”