The German partner of the eBussed Interreg Europe project, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg organised an online tutoring session on 20 January 2022. The event was targeted to introduce the Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH), the local public transport company and its numerous good practices. These good practices are as follows:
- optimising charging infrastructure according to available space,
- conditional delivery of e-buses including a practical test phase,
- integrating staff for innovative solutions,
- marketing and communication activities related to the introduction of e-buses,
- change management and information for drivers and technicians,
- automated pre-conditioning of e-buses,
- implementation of data driven processes,
- national e-bus platform,
- structured approach to e-bus transition.
The detailed descriptions of the above practices you may find under the Good Practice section of the eBussed Interreg Europe website (link: https://www.interregeurope.eu/ebussed/good-practices/).
The 18 attendants of the meeting represented the partnership of the project and their regional/national stakeholders.
During the meeting Nina Zeun, e-mobility project engineer of VHH presented the Hamburg case of public electric bus transport, with making quotes to the good practices listed above.
VHH is the mobility provider in the North of Germany. Recently it operates in Hamburg and its agglomeration on 155 lines with 676 buses (at the moment 60 electric buses included, and further 28 to be put in operation in February 2022). Annually 106 million passengers travel on their lines, and the number of staff of VHH is 2.105, people. The COVID pandemic has made significant impacts on their service effectiveness, by dropping numbers of passengers in public transport. At the same time by 2030 they estimate changes in the public transport service for Hamburg and its agglomeration, that requires putting in service more e-buses (the fleet of that time is estimated to be around 700 buses, with e-bus majority (cc. 65%) and the presence of diesel buses). VHH from 2019 on purchases only e-buses, and from 2024 on diesel buses (with and average lifetime of 15 years) will be gradually excluded from operation and from the fleet. In case we consider public transport services provided to the Hamburg agglomeration, further 300-400 buses (therefore more than 1.000, buses in total) are estimated to be in service in 2030.
In her presentation Ms. Zeun introduced the history and the main steps leading to e-buses operation in Hamburg. The first electric buses were put into operation in 2014, their charging is provided by depot charging, and in some locations along the lines the public transport operator (PTO) uses opportunity charging (by pantographs). The number of e-buses in daily operation should be planned carefully, with regards to number of passengers on the lines, battery capacities of e-buses and lengths of the individual lines. It is also worth considering that the longest line within the city has 16 kms length.
The Hamburg e-bus fleet consists of Rampini midi e-buses, Mercedes, MAN and Irizar solo buses and Mercedes, MAN and Volvo articulated buses. In accordance with the development of e-bus fleet, the necessary investments of the charging infrastructure at the VHH has also been delivered. The new, green depot provides slow and fast charging by cables with pug-ins on 62 spots for all types of e-buses in operation, with a 150 kW capacity chargers.
A separate section of the event was dedicated on the intelligent transport system applied at VHH. The energy and information flows were equally presented, in back-end and front-end terms.
The online tutoring session provided opportunity for the audience to raise the questions and share their comments. Below we make a short extract on the most interesting issues raised:
- the operation of e-bus fleets partly faces the same difficulties and technical problems as the diesel fleets (for example problems in the opening-closing of doors), whilst specific problems also arise such as the damages of the battery,
- within Germany the different PTOs communicate and cooperate with each other frequently to discuss and solve problems / challenges occurring during the e-bus fleet operation. The German PTOs are public companies, and there is no rivalry amongst them. In internationalisation terms these PTOs have difficulties with cooperating with Dutch or Danish PTOs, mainly because of the lack the language skills (not proper level knowledge of English, for example);
Following the questions and answers section the organisers shared with the audience that in May 2022 – in case the COVID situation makes that possible – the eBussed partners and stakeholders will meet physically in Hamburg for the final event of the Phase 1 of the project.
The eBussed project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.