The regional event took place in Helsinki in January, when the event participants expanded their focus by travelling away from their home base in Turku. The bus drive offered a great opportunity to discuss the e-bus status quo, project aims and news from the project kickoff.

The destinations Helsinki was chosen based on it is e-bus leader position in Finland. The participants got a chance to familiarize to Pohjola liikenne Ltd., a company operating in the Helsinki region with buses from 3 manufacturers (Yutong, Linkker and VDL). The stakeholders from the two cities got an opportunity to discuss the technical aspects of the vehicles, experiences in procurement and, for example, the training of new e-bus drivers.

Surprisingly noisy

Stakeholders bring together a remarkable amount of knowledge with great sharing potential. Sometimes the tips based on experiences can be applied globally, sometimes they are strictly limited to certain conditions. For example, in Finland, the temperature can rapidly rise or fall by dozens of degrees in just hours. The buses in use must be able to run despite the demanding weather conditions. This is often a thing that cannot be trialled prior to procurement but has to be tested in real life. The infrastructure can be organised in many ways. Near Helsinki in “Leppävaara”, all operators can use the charging station during a time slot. Outside those hours, only one operator is allowed to charge.

Photo by Jassi Aho

Silence is one of the positive adjectives used for describing electronic vehicles. It is, however, not entirely undisputed, as learned from the hosting company’s customer feedback. When the bus soundscape diminishes, the bus operating sounds may become distinctive and disturbing even to a disturbing extent. There has been feedback from customers that the sounds of lane-changing are interfering!

All in all, the experiences from e-buses have been positive. Due to simple charging, the human factor reduces mistakes, making e-buses are easy to operate.