Europe's largest electric bus fleet in operation
Connexxion, Amsterdam Transport Region and Schiphol presented Europe's largest electric bus fleet today, Wednesday 28 March 2018, in the presence of Secretary of State Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure). From Sunday 1 April 2018, 100 electric articulated VDL Citeas SLFA Electric will be in operation at and around Schiphol Airport and on high-grade public transport lines in the Amstelland-Meerlanden concession area.
Bart Schmeink, CEO of Transdev Netherlands, parent company of Connexxion, says, “I am extremely proud of this huge accomplishment. Achieving this would not have been possible without the excellent collaboration with Amsterdam Transport Region, the municipality of Amsterdam, Schiphol and VDL. With this concession and this fleet, the municipality of Amsterdam is ready for the future.”
Managing Director Ard Romers, VDL Bus & Coach Nederland, says, “This past year we have taken big steps to further strengthen our position as electric mobility transition partner. We learn daily from the implementation and operation of the various zero-emission bus transport projects. Thanks to our experience we have now also succeeded in contributing to the transition in the Amstelland-Meerlanden concession. A major step has been taken to further the sustainability of public transport in this region.”
The 100 electric articulated VDL Citeas will travel 30,000 km per day. The buses will be in service on six lines, 24 hours a day. Operational availability of the electric buses has been maximized through an optimized rapid charging concept. The batteries have an energy capacity of 169 kWh and can be charged with up to 420 kW power. A fully discharged battery is recharged and ready for the next trip in 20 minutes or less. Charging downtime is kept to a minimum.
R-Net and Schipholnet
Two different versions of the VDL Citea SLFA Electric have been delivered to Connexxion. The buses for R-Net have the Citea exterior. These buses will be put in service on four R-Net high-frequency lines between Uithoorn, Amstelveen, Schiphol and the Amsterdam city centre. The buses for Schipholnet will operate on 12 lines at and around the Schiphol grounds. These buses have been built in the futuristic BRT design. The fourth door in this version further optimizes the passenger flow on these buses. All the buses have a spacious driver's cockpit. The driver is optimally informed about the driving performance and current status of the vehicle via the standard digital electronic interface cluster. Passengers enjoy the additional luxury of comfortable deluxe seats, Wi-Fi and USB connections.
Implementation and system responsibility
VDL also played an important role in the project management involved in the implementation of the electric bus fleet. To provide a virtually turnkey solution, Connexxion and VDL have cooperated closely from the time the contract was awarded. From the very beginning they looked beyond just the practical implementation and considered where the best opportunities for infrastructure development can be found. VDL has overall responsibility for the fleet. In a complex project of this type, close cooperation between various parties is an absolute prerequisite for successful implementation.
Connexxion and VDL have already amassed experience during the successful implementation and continued operation of the 43 electric articulated Citeas in Eindhoven. Since 11 December 2016 every bus has travelled 350 kilometres per day. Together, the 43 buses have travelled almost four million kilometres. The operational advantages of high-performance battery technology in combination with quick charging solutions have been demonstrated there.
With the deployment of these 100 zero-emission buses, the public transport at and around Schiphol is now more environmentally friendly. The buses emit no harmful substances and make considerably less noise than regular buses. The Amstelland-Meerlanden concession runs until 11 December 2027. The 100 electric buses currently deployed are the first phase of a transition to a total of 258 zero emission buses in 2021.
Transdev is active in the Netherlands under the brands Connexxion Openbaar Vervoer, Connexxion Taxi and Witte Kruis. The Transdev Group has locations in 19 countries and is active in passenger transport and mobile care. Internationally, Transdev provides various types of transport: buses, taxis and trains, light rail, ferries and bicycles. The company employs over 83,000 people under the Transdev banner.