Amsterdam was investing in 31 electric busses supplied by VDL, with an additional 69 e-busses added to the fleet in the coming years. Bus drivers on the busy routes needed a solution that enabled easy and efficient charging on the route and at the depot. Street furniture, such as charger cabinets, must be out of sight, respectful of the existing environment. The low roof at the depot where the busses were parked also presented Heliox with an additional challenge of how the contact hoods could be accommodated.
Charging via pantograph had already been successfully used at different locations, and it was decided the same method would be the most suitable charging solution for this fleet. A solution involving a combination of overnight charging (applying the bus battery packs being charged at night in the garage via storage chargers) and fast chargers at opportunity charging points during the day. Collaboration with VDL resulted in new construction for the contact hoods, allowing them to be easily accommodated in the depot. The charger cabinets were placed unobtrusively and close to the charging location, ensuring minimal impact on the street view. At the depot, a total of 29 Heliox DC 50 kW chargers and 2 Heliox OC 150 kW chargers were installed, with a further 7 Heliox 450 KW installed at the OC location. To enable the bus driver to see where to park the bus for charging quickly, lights were installed on platforms in the ground. The lights changed from red to green to indicate when charging is taking place.
The first electric busses in Amsterdam city will be powered by Heliox 8MW fast charge network. 31 additional VDL electric busses started operation in 2020, and the contract includes an option for additional 69 zero emission busses to be added in the coming years.
Amsterdam’s public transport operator, GVB, remains committed to transitioning towards a zero-emission bus fleet. The project was also an essential step in improving air quality and quality of life for Amsterdam’s visitors and citizens.