De Lijn is looking for suppliers of 970 electric buses
Flemish public transport company De Lijn is looking for suppliers for 970 electric buses and the necessary charging infrastructure. The latter will be put into operation in phases from 2023 up to 2025. A public tender was published on Monday for this purpose.
One billion euros
The e-buses and accessories will require an investment of more than one billion euros, which is more than the currently planned investment resources. De Lijn is asking the Flemish government to provide additional financing.
“The realization of e-bus networks in Flanders will only succeed if all the partners involved put their shoulders to the wheel of sustainable public transport,” says Roger Kesteloot, Director-General of De Lijn.
City centers emission-free
The Flemish coalition agreement states that city centers must be operated emission-free by 2025 at the latest and that all buses in Flanders must be zero-emission by 2035. Minister of Mobility and Public Works, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), says the public tender is an important step in the right direction.
“As stated in the Flemish coalition agreement, we want to invest in public transport that is greener and more efficient. That is why the Flemish government is ensuring that the investment program concerning the greening of De Lijn’s rolling stock is fully implemented,” she adds.
Perfect solution, grid limps behind
Regular bus lines are very suitable for electric driving. Buses drive a fixed route and use their own stops so that recharging (in theory) cannot be a problem.
However, pilot projects we have seen so far show that there is mainly a problem with providing sufficiently powerful electricity connections at bus stops, and that is mainly a task for the power grid operators. This problem is comparable to the lack of charging infrastructure for cars, which can also often be traced back to an outdated power grid.
That’s why suppliers must, among other things, ensure the supply and commissioning of e-buses, the associated charging infrastructure, and the connection to energy supplies.
Different types of electric buses are sought. The charging infrastructure will be located at De Lijn’s depot and at strategically chosen bus stops. From 2020, De Lijn will search for locations for this infrastructure, together with the cities and municipalities.