Vorarlberg starts with the first four EV-buses in public transport
The first four electric buses have been in operation in Vorarlberg since the end of February 2020. Due to their range of up to 290 km and their fast charging time, they are optimal vehicles for operation in local public transport.
Application area – Land Bus Upper Rhine Valley
The four electric buses run in the Upper Rhine valley on the route Bludenz - Feldkirch - Götzis. This shows that e-mobility is becoming suitable for everyday use and, according to Johannes Rauch, State Councilor for Mobility, is to be increasingly expanded in the future.
Since 2014, intensive work has been carried out to investigate the suitability of e-liner buses and since 2018 to procure specific EV-buses, as it is the declared goal of the State of Vorarlberg and the Vorarlberg Transport Association to convert the vehicle fleet increasingly to E-vehicles. In the test operation, however, it turned out that in the alpine regions the batteries of the buses were too weak, or the storage capacity of the vehicles was not sufficient to guarantee the operating times required in regular service. "For a functioning public transport system, however, it is essential that passengers can rely on the buses running reliably and on time," emphasizes Rauch.
With the purchase of 4 vehicles from the company IVECO Heuliez in France, all requirements were met, and a 100% European product was acquired.
The local public transport association of Vorarlberger Unterland (Lower Rhine Valley) is also pursuing the goal of using EV-buses, but the general conditions in this region are particularly challenging for the use of EV-buses. In dense urban traffic, additional infrastructure expansions are needed to ensure the required ranges.
The province of Vorarlberg and the Vorarlberg Transport Association would like to gain as much valuable experience as possible with electrically operated buses in regular service. The four EV-buses must also pass the test operation in winter (heating) and in summer (air conditioning). If the operation is successful, a further order and the further expansion of electrification in public transport are planned.
The promotion of E-mobility in the state of Vorarlberg is anchored in the E-mobility strategy Vorarlberg 2015-2020 to achieve the goal of Energy Autonomy Vorarlberg. The EV-buses now purchased are an important part of this strategy. In the course of the revision of the electromobility strategy for the years 2020-2025, the Research Centre Energy of the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg will also contribute its expertise. "With the E-MOB joint project, which is funded by Interreg Europe, we have the opportunity to adopt good practice models from other European regions and at the same time export our know-how to our partners", says Prof. (FH) Markus Preißinger, Head of the Research Centre Energy.