The first electric bus for Darmstadt is here. HEAG mobilo’s battery-operated so-called ‘depot-charger’ is a 12 metre-long standard bus of the Sileo S12 type, with space for around 80 passengers. The transport company is expecting a second articulated bus from the same manufacturer in a few weeks.
On 26th March the company is showcasing the smaller standard bus at Luisenplatz for the first time. The procurement of both electric buses is subsidised in the amount of 273,000 euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in the framework of the electric mobility funding guideline. The funding programme is coordinated by NOW GmbH.
Environmentally-friendly and quiet
With a driving noise of approx. 76 dBA, the new buses are substantially quieter than conventional diesel buses, particularly at low speeds, e.g. in pedestrian zones or when arriving at and departing from bus stops. According to the manufacturer, the 230 kWh lithium iron phosphate batteries enable the standard bus to achieve a range of up to around 280 kilometres. The six metre longer articulated bus, with 346 kWh, can manage around 20 kilometres more. The buses will be charged at the Böllenfalltor depot. Depending on battery capacity and charging capacity, this requires between about four to six hours at the already existing charging stations.
Over the coming weeks and months the company will test both electric buses extensively on HEAG mobilo bus routes in Darmstadt and in the Darmstadt-Dieburg district, in order to examine the practical feasibility of the planned switch to fully-electric operation. Only when the test and training drives for the driving personnel have been completed will the vehicles begin line and passenger operation.
The results of the test phase will be fed directly into the further planning of the complete changeover to electric, which is to be completed by 2025. Between 2018 and 2025 the company wishes to procure a total of 76 electric buses. The adaptations of operation procedures that are required will be fluid and continuous.
Switch to pure e-bus operation envisaged by 2025
After the first test and training drives, both depot chargers will be deployed in scheduled services on different routes in Darmstadt and in the wider district. The practical experiences gained will be incorporated into the planned changeover to e-bus operation. Apart from the AirLiner, the goal of HEAG mobilo is to turn all routes fully electric by 2025 and in so doing, make local public transport in Darmstadt emission-free. HEAG mobilo has already published a tender for the procurement of another six buses. These will then supplement the HEAG mobilo e-bus fleets next year.
Detailed information on the e-buses and the planned changeover can be found online at www.heagmobilo.de.