Rethink the bus depot layout to make it e-bus compatible. Due to restricted space, the plug-in charging infrastructure has been placed overhead.
When modifying bus depots to fit the requirements of e-mobility, space is often a problem. Firstly, a higher number of e-buses is needed to provide the same transportation services due to the lower range of e-buses. Secondly, charging infrastructure requires additional space. In the VHH bus depot Schenefeld in the west of Hamburg, the problem has been solved by constructing a grid structure above the parking lots, which hosts the charging cables, instead of building charging stations on the ground. The cables can be pulled from above to charge the e-buses, leaving more space for a larger number of buses to be parked. The power modules of the charging infrastructure are located in a centralized wall structure. This structure is placed between two areas of parking to simultaneously act as a barrier in the event of a fire.
The investment costs are estimated to be lower, compared to the construction of a small charging station next to each e-bus. The depot is still under construction.

Resources needed

Information about costs is not yet available. The costs for the overhead steel construction and the infrastructural wall are offset by more efficient use of space, more flexibility for future changes (no ground works, cables easily accessible) and additional safety through the fire barrier.

Evidence of success

Modifying existing bus depots to fit the needs of e-buses comes with many challenges. The first iteration of e-bus depot plans allowed for 64 bus units to be placed on the available area. With the improvement of designing a two-storey middle structure to house the electric equipment and an overhead steel construction to provide charge point access, 81 bus units could be placed on the same area.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice can serve as inspiration to other PTOs in other regions when planning charging infrastructure for bus depots. The exact implementation of any charging infrastructure will depend on case specific considerations and decisions (number of e-buses, space availability, e-bus technology used, preferred charging strategy, budget etc.).
Main institution
Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH
Hamburg, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
December 2020
End Date


Stephanie Keßler Please login to contact the author.