First five electric VDL buses for De Lijn commissioned

The Flemish public transport company De Lijn has served the first of the new e-buses from supplier VDL from its depot in Destelbergen, East Flanders. These are the first five of 24 e-buses from VDL to reinforce the electric fleet in the Ghent region.

In the coming weeks and months, the Destelbergen depot will receive five more e-buses from Dutch company VDL, which also manufactures in Belgium. The remaining 14 vehicles of the order will be deployed from the Sint-Niklaas depot.

More passengers comfort

“Like all other e-buses, they have many features that increase passenger comfort, such as USB charging points for smartphones, extra-wide info screens with stop information, electrically operated ramps for less mobile travelers, seats with recycled leather, a wood-look floor covering and improved ventilation,” says Ann Schoubs, director-general of De Lijn.

“But the safety and comfort of our drivers has also been considered. The e-buses are equipped with safety features that would not be out of place in modern cars, such as cameras instead of mirrors and multiple detection systems to notice pedestrians and cyclists.”

The bus manufacturer also paid particular attention to the driver’s control station, which has air conditioning and a heated and ventilated seat.

Green electricity

“E-buses consume no fossil fuel and emit nothing at all,” says outgoing Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters (Open Vld). “This is a great advantage for the climate and the health of those in or around the bus. In addition, De Lijn only buys green electricity, so there are no emissions when the energy is producer.”

Until recently, De Lijn ordered e-buses – the company is late in greening up – from VDL, with a plant in Roeselare, and from Van Hool, the bankrupt bus builder now acquired by the VDL Group. But earlier this year, De Lijn ordered 92 e-buses from Chinese manufacturer BYD, causing controversy. De Lijn can order 408 buses from BYD without a further public tender.

In May, Spanish manufacturer Irizar E-mobility won De Lijn’s tender for a framework agreement for up to 100 electric buses for ‘high-quality public transport’ (HOV). De Lijn wants to run only climate-friendly buses by 2035, i.e., only on hydrogen or electricity.


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