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E-Mobility in Europe - What Does it Mean for the Public Transportation Industry?

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February 24, 2021
News blog | E-Mobility and Public Transport in EuropeThe world is turning to electric vehicles for transport. This has been the trend for some time now. We have all seen a Tesla or other electric vehicle share the roadways where ever travel, but what about public transport? With all the activity around the personal use of electric vehicles, one might be surprised at the progress made in the public transport sector.

Electric Buses are Here Already

In recent years we have seen the introduction of limited use electric public transport initiatives all over Europe. There are examples from Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Man already on the streets proving the concept is much more advanced than we might think. 

It was back in 2015 that the first electric busses from Volvo took to the streets in Gothenburg and they have been going strong ever since. Projects like this have been popping up all over Europe since then and already there are examples of this in almost every major city. 

The transport industry worldwide has made significant inroads to launching fully electric busses for use in the public transport sector. In Europe, where e-mobility is a major part of public bus transportation, the development has been 2-fold.

Electric Bus Infrastructure

Many European countries have already rolled out large charging infrastructure for personal electric vehicles. The public transport sector like busses, can’t really pull into a local charging station to charge up. These busses are designed to carry many passengers and they also have a route to travel with people relying on the scheduled busses.

This understanding has led manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Man to rethink the way we think about public transport. Where Mercedes has been hard at work designing the charging stations at the depots to facilitate the recharging of public busses, Man has been developing the charging network infrastructure all over Europe.

Currently, the depot infrastructure will be the main source of charging for most public bus transportation, with certain cities looking at rolling out “opportunity charging” networks that will charge the busses utilizing a pantograph on the roof. However, these upgrades and new infrastructure does need more planning to roll out when compared to the private sector.

Therefore, many of the big-name bus manufacturers have been working with countries and more closely with certain cities to reimagine the way we see public transportation. These consultations have already resulted in changes in the bus architecture and design that make traveling on them much more convenient and energy efficient.

The new electric busses have a few key differences from their internal combustion cousins. Major changes in the underpinnings of the bus have seen that a standard-sized bus can carry a few extra passengers. This design change has also moved the driver seat to the middle as can be seen from Volvo’s ElectriCity project.

Some of the new innovation’s passengers can expect are airy interiors and on-board Wi-Fi as well as charging stations for your mobile devices. Passengers have been key to the redesign of the new e-mobility busses. the doors have been redesigned to be wider and have lower access for easy ingress and egress.

The Future of Public Bus Transportation

With the big names in e-mobility like Tesla already developing public transportation of the future, many other brand names have also begun the development process. So, what does the future of public transport look like?

when compared to the current combustion busses, electric busses look much the same on the outside. It's under the skin where the big changes are happening. We have already mentioned the internal conveniences aimed at making your trip so much more. The biggest changes are happening in the way these busses travel, better batteries, and stronger electric motors.

These developments will be instrumental in the roll-out process and will make the change over more streamlined. We already know that these busses can perform exceptionally well in the urban environment. And we will be seeing them slowly replacing the internal combustion busses all over Europe in the next couple of years. And in the not-so-distant future, the first long trip coaches will be making our touring life and travel safer and more eco-friendly.

Electric mobility - Electric bus - Europe - Public transport - Volvo - Mercedes Benz - MAN - Tesla

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