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19.10.2016
VBZ tests electric bus


One can hardly accuse the VBZ transport company of failing to make use of electricity to drive its fleet of vehicles, after all, 80% of all of its passengers are transported on trams or trolley buses powered in the way.
On the other hand, some 100 buses are still run on diesel, with 100 million litres of it needed to fuel them. On average, each such bus needs 52 litres per 100 kilometres, which means they fail to meet the targets of the “2000-Watt” campaign to reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels, not to mention the air and noise pollution they cause.
 
As this article in the Tages Anzeiger newspaper went on to say, tests with hybrid buses powered by both diesel and electricity were undertaken last year, which led to a 25% reduction in the use of diesel and it is as result of this that the VBZ is to acquire 11 of these e-buses next year, replacing the same number of buses running on diesel only.
 
The reason buses running solely on electric power have become of greater interest in recent years is because of the technological advancements in battery manufacturing.
 
As mentioned, one bus using electric power only is currently being tested on the number 35 route in Altstetten, with seven further ones expected to be introduced over the next two years. These buses, built by the SOR company, are 8 metres long, weigh 12.5 tonnes, have seating capacity for 16 passengers and 18 people standing. With a battery weighing 500 kilogrammes, it is capable of covering distances between 150 and 180 kilometres. One drawback is that, as these buses cover some 300 kilometres a day, they have to be returned to the depot to be charged for between five and six hours in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, the setting up of charging stations elsewhere is out of the question because of the high costs involved.
 
If these current test runs live up to expectations, then the VBZ intends to replace 15 diesel powered buses by these new e-buses over the course of the next three years. What has been found to consume a lot of power are the heating and air-conditioning; in fact the amount of electricity consumed by heating in winter reduces the range of such e-vehicles by up to one half.
 
Despite these positive developments, the VBZ company has not yet set a date by which no further diesel powered buses will be in operation.   
 


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