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Not part of the SWB fleet: Why electric buses are currently on the road in Bonn

Not part of the SWB fleet : Why electric buses are currently on the road in Bonn

Recently, electric buses have been rolling through Bonn from time to time. But these vehicles do not belong to the fleet of the Bonn public utility company. So what’s up with them?

Instead of the typical red-and-white livery that the buses of line 631 normally have, a bus with a completely different look was on the road in Bonn in the past few weeks. And not only that: the blue and white vehicle was powered electrically. However, the bus that the transport company posted on Twitter on Tuesday does not belong to the fleet of the Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB).

The reason for the trip through Bonn is a four-week test phase by the Spanish vehicle manufacturer Irizar, which wanted to test one of its e-buses in practice - and chose the Bonn transport network for this purpose, as Michael Henseler from Stadtwerke Bonn explained.

The 3.30 meter high model was used on the lines 630 from Gronau to Tannenbusch and on line 631. Despite the intense heat, the feedback from employees and passengers was "thoroughly positive".

The fact that manufacturers like Irizar want to try out their vehicles in Bonn is nothing new according to SWB. "The Bonn transport network is a good choice because it is very dense," says Henseler. In 2020 alone, four buses from different companies will be rolling along Bonn's roads. SWB expects to learn more about e-technology from the tests. "The manufacturers also benefit from our feedback in the course of their use in regular scheduled service," says Henseler.

SWB plans to have seven new E-buses at the end of the year

Although the test drives have now been completed for the time being, electric mobility remains an issue for the municipal utilities. In the fourth quarter of this year, seven already ordered electric battery buses are to be delivered to Bonn, which will then run in regular service on a permanent basis.

In previous years, the municipal utilities had already participated in the EU-funded Zeus project and tested six borrowed buses from the German-Turkish manufacturer Sileo. According to the Stadtwerke, the vehicles did not reliably achieve the battery range of at least 200 kilometres specified by the manufacturer. Currently, SWB Bus und Bahn do not own a single E-bus. The managing director of the transport company, Anja Wenmakers, has so far stuck to her goal of converting the entire diesel fleet for the approximately 92 million passengers to electric operation by 2030.

(Original text: Sabrina Szameitat; Translation: Mareike Graepel)