The experimental phase is over. At the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 in Hannover, manufacturers and suppliers will be showing off more than just prototypes – electric buses ready for daily use will be on display.
The future of electrified urban buses is already here.
In the medium term they will be deployed increasingly in local public transport, replacing buses with classical internal combustion engines. At present, in particular the very latest Euro VI and hybrid buses with combined electric-diesel powertrains are improving the climate footprints of the fleets. OEMs and experts expect that by 2030 over 70 percent of all new urban buses will operate with zero emissions. The aim of zero-emission road traffic is an important topic especially for towns and cities, because electric buses can make a considerable contribution to climate protection, air pollution control and noise protection.
Already on the roads in many towns and cities
This benefits not only the environment, but also cyclists, pedestrians and residents in equal measure, along with passengers and the bus drivers. For example, electric buses are already in service today in many cities and smaller municipalities, too – such as the island of Sylt and the cities of Hannover, Leipzig and Munich. The European Commission plans that in the future public operators like municipalities and public bus companies will be obligated to switch to electric vehicles when they renew their fleets. Hamburg and Berlin are planning to use only electric buses on local public transport routes as early as 2020. Paris and London have set themselves similar goals.
Also attractive for long-distance services
But not only the public operators wish to gradually phase out old buses from their fleets. Electric buses are becoming increasingly attractive for regional bus services, too. Europe’s market leader Flixbus is the first bus operator to test all-electric buses on longer journeys. Since April electric buses have been plying the 130 kilometer route between Paris and the small French town of Amiens. This summer, another test is starting on a new service between the German states of Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.
World premiere at the IAA
For a long time there was doubt about the feasibility of using an electric motor to power a heavy commercial vehicle such as a bus. Yet the routes for urban service buses do not change over time: the bus-stops, traveling times and topography are all well known. This planning security has accelerated development on the market for battery-electric urban buses. In Europe, several large and small OEMs are already building electric buses, including Volvo. Mercedes-Benz is planning to begin series production this year of the electrified model Citaro E-CELL in solo and articulated versions for local public transport. But before that the city bus will celebrate its world premiere at this year’s IAA. The competitor MAN is planning the market launch of its own e-bus at the end of 2019.
The IAA Commercial Vehicles, which will run in Hannover from September 20 to 27, 2018, will showcase new and zero-emission forms of propulsion for buses with their many fascinating facets. Numerous exhibitors will also present commercial vehicles ready for series production and provide insights into their current developments and research. Furthermore, many buses with alternative powertrains will be operating as shuttle buses on the IAA grounds. Visitors will gain comprehensive insights into the electric mobility of today and tomorrow.