By the middle of 2025, more than two thirds of the VAG public transport authority’s bus fleet are to have been converted to emission-free drive technology – the federal government is now funding the procurement of 22 additional electric buses with 7.2 million euros.
At Freiburger Verkehrs AG (VAG), the conversion of the bus fleet to e-mobility is making great strides. After the start of the e-bus pilot line 27 in February 2020 and the conversion of four other bus lines to the emission-free drive technology in September this year, a new funding decision from the federal government paves the way for a rapid further expansion of the e-bus fleet and more climate protection in Freiburg.
The now completely approved funding application involves the acquisition of a total of 22 additional articulated electric buses by summer 2025. The expansion of the e-bus fleet will therefore receive a total of 7.2 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV – Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr) as part of the funding guideline for buses. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PtJ). The BMDV covers a maximum of 80 percent of the additional costs for e-bus procurements compared with the cost of conventional buses.
VAG already has 17 e-buses in operation. By autumn 2023, six more solo electric buses are scheduled to be added, which will be subsidised by the state of Baden-Württemberg via the L-Bank. The tender for the 22 additional articulated electric buses will begin in January 2023. Provided everything goes according to plan, VAG will have a total of 45 electric buses by the end of June 2025 – which is more than two-thirds of the current bus fleet.
To facilitate their operation, further expansion of the charging infrastructure across the bus network and at the depot is necessary. VAG is currently preparing applications for funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg. “We are well positioned and on schedule,” declared VAG board member Stephan Bartosch optimistically.
Image: “By reducing noise and emissions, electric buses in Freiburg not only contribute to climate protection, but also to an improvement in the quality of life,” says VAG board member Oliver Benz. Compared to diesel-powered buses, each electric bus saves about 55 tonnes of CO₂ per year, according to VAG figures.
Image source: Freiburger Verkehrs AG