Cologne’s E-bus project, first conceptualized in 2012 by KVB (Kölnner Verkehrs-Betriebe) was put into action only in 2016 with 8 ‘articulated busses’ of 18-meters in length needing to be powered quickly, quietly and efficiently.
The 13 stops along the 7-km route would link Cologne train station with the city district of Zollstock and transport around 9,000 passengers a day.
RheinEnergie AG supplied green electricity for charging the busses and partnered with Heliox in powering the 18m busses for the route. At night, the busses were fully charged in the bus depot via pantographs installed on the bus roof. The pantographs allowed charging at one of the three charging stations at both final stops and intermediate stops on the route, in case of a requirement borne out of excessive traffic or inclement weather. Charging the batteries took between five to ten minutes, bringing no disruption to the bus schedule.
Given that line 133 often found itself in the midst of long traffic jams, an electric-solution with long-lasting capabilities led to a 520-tonne drop in CO2 emissions annually. NOx and fine particulate matter also witnessed drastic reductions on a year-on-year basis. The e-busses proved reliable during the one-year test period and has accelerated Cologne’s transition to e-public mobility.