Emission-free city traffic is still a utopia. But wouldn’t it be wonderful? The good news is, it seems that it will be possible in the foreseeable future. But the question is: how best to achieve the goal of a city centre with clean air? BSAG is doing its bit. It is committed to sustainability and is already using electricity from renewable sources in its electric vehicles. This is certified, i.e. confirmed by means of independent assessment.
BSAG’s buses are already low-emission. Bremen has the cleanest diesel buses on the international market. However, that is not enough in the long term.
The first electric buses are already available – but unfortunately do not originate from German factories. The best electric drives come from China. Of course, the smog problems there are much worse than they are here. But who would have expected Chinese engineers to come up with the best and, above all, the safest batteries in the world? BSAG is testing this technology. No one knows if these vehicles will be able to prove their worth in everyday operation, how much maintenance will be required, how long the batteries will really last and what the actual costs will be. The test buses are currently relatively small. The smallest is a German-Italian co-production between Siemens and Rampini. In 2014 test operations will be run with an electric articulated bus from Eurabus in Berlin. Eurabus also uses Chinese drive technology. The drivers are delighted with the tests that have been carried out so far. E-vehicles are great in terms of performance. Passengers appreciate the comfort, lack of noise and low vibrations. What bothers them is the seating, which takes some getting used to.
From 2016, BSAG will be changing to electric drives when procuring new and replacement vehicles. From 2026, BSAG will take on a trailblazing role in Germany with completely emission-free operations. Diesel vehicles have an efficiency level of 30-35 per cent; the efficiency level for electric vehicles is 90 per cent. Even if they are more expensive to buy, e-buses would quickly pay for themselves.
However, even individual vehicles can largely be run on electricity. At the mobility station at Berliner Freiheit, BSAG is working in collaboration with GEWOBA and swb on an electric car sharing project, using three E-Smarts. There are also two pedelecs – bicycles with an electric auxiliary motor – for rent. If this concept should prove to be of worth, other stations will be created.
Furthermore, a feasibility study is currently being carried out on the topic of trolley buses. Unfortunately, a trolley bus is double the price of a battery-powered bus. And then there are the costs of the overhead lines.
In line with our current knowledge, we will therefore see an increasing number of battery-operated electric vehicles going into operation.