The largest-ever fast-charging network for multi-brand e-busses in Groningen and Drenthe

February 9, 2019

Challenge

Qbuzz, the public transport operator in Groningen and Drenthe, was committed to electrifying their entire bus fleet for city and regional transport in the region. Its goal was to charge a total of 164 e-busses: 45 Citea’s from VDL Bus & Coach, 59 Q-link from Heuliez, and 60 Ebusco 2.2 busses. Installation of the charging locations would occur within a relatively short timeframe and include a charging interface inter-operable between three different bus brands.

The network of e-busses cover public transport in the city of Groningen, but also take care of regional transit. This means that busses that drive on regional lines at larger distances, should be enabled to charge at intermediary stops.

Solution

In just eight months, a total of 19 charging locations were installed in Groningen, Emmen, and Assen: 15 at bus stops and four depot charging locations. Installation included a vast amount of construction work; adjusting platforms, constructing transformer stations, fitting extensive cabling, and building charging poles. Opportunity charging allows busses driving on regional lines and covering more considerable distances to charge at intermediary stops (fourteen chargers at 450 kW and nine chargers at 300 kW). Installations at the four depots included thirty-nine 2x30 kW, four 50 kW, and eleven 150 kW chargers.

Outcome

Based on bus battery capacity, available energy supply, and transport strategy, Heliox developed a future-proof infrastructure to guarantee maximum uptime. This project highlighted the benefits of Heliox working in close collaboration with all partners, involving Qbuzz, VDL, Ebusco, and Heuliez. This is, to date, the largest introduction of electric busses in one go and will decrease CO2 emissions by 90%.