More electric buses in Utrecht’s public transport
An increasing number of electric buses make their appearance on the roads in Utrecht’s public transport. Early 2020, transport providers U-OV and Syntus Utrecht operated seventeen electric buses in the province. This will be increased by another sixty: 55 for urban transport and five for the urban transport in Amersfoort and the surrounding region. At present, the first 25 e-buses from this new series have successfully been put into operation.
In 2019, the province of Utrecht, together with the transport providers, took important follow-up steps towards the ambition to provide 100% clean and sustainable public transport by 2028. From this year, the number of electric buses in the Utrecht concessions of U-OV and Syntus Utrecht rose further, and 25 zero-emission buses were added. Five of them, electric Syntus Utrecht buses from supplier BYD, are deployed in the Amersfoort city service. This spring, transport provider U-OV introduced 20 electric buses supplied by Ebusco. These buses are deployed in and around the city of Utrecht, are battery-powered, and are charged in the garages in Bunnik, Zeist, and Amersfoort.
In addition, transport provider U-OV has ordered 35 electric buses of the Heuliez brand. These are longer, articulated 18-metre buses with sufficient capacity for over 130 passengers per ride. The buses will be deployed on the city lines in Utrecht. This delivery has been delayed because of the corona crisis. According to the current planning, these buses will start riding by the end of 2020. Charging points for these buses will be realised (opportunity-charging infrastructure) at both Utrecht Central station and Utrecht Lunetten station. Preparations for this are on track.
New garage and workshop
In the spring of 2020, the province started the construction of a new, sustainable bus garage and workshop near Westraven P+R in Utrecht. This new facility is situated close to the arterial roads of Utrecht and is currently made ready for the future maintenance of electric buses in the case of a further expansion of the electric bus fleet. Until that time, the diesel-powered city buses are garaged here. The electric buses are garaged in the tram depot close by, for which the site is also modified. Because of the extra attention required for fire safety, completion of this bus garage takes more time. In the autumn of 2020, this new bus garage near the tram depot will be suitable for garaging, maintaining and recharging the current electric buses as well as the 35 new electric city buses. The old bus garage located at Europalaan will become available for new urban developments (Merwedekanaalzone).
Deployment of electric buses on lines 1 and 2
The well-known ‘museum line’ 2 of U-OV that runs through the inner city of Utrecht has parted company with the 3 midi buses. These electric buses were charged using an induction system. The buses were in operation since 2013 and recently had to cope with too many technical problems to guarantee a proper service. Next year, these buses will be replaced by 3 new battery-powered electric midibuses.
The performance and reliability of the electric bus line 1 increased significantly in 2019. Thus, the deployment of these 11 electric buses meets expectations after the initial start-up problems with these buses in 2018. The lessons learnt from this introduction were included in the current, successful roll-out of the new electric buses.
With the arrival of these new electric buses, the total number in 2022 will be 75 e-buses that will be deployed in Utrecht’s public transport – about 15% of the total bus fleet within the province of Utrecht.