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The largest ever fast charging network for three e-bus brands – at the same time.

Heliox provides the depot charging and opportunity charging infrastructure for Groningen/Drenthe – the largest introduction of e-buses, powered by Heliox’s charging infrastructure.


164 Buses 13 MW Groningen, Drenthe, the Netherlands 8 Months
CCS Roof-mounted pantograph


 Qbuzz, the public transport operator in Grongingen 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-buses: 45 Citea’s from VDL Bus & Coach, 59 Q-link from Heuliez and 60 Ebusco 2.2 buses. The project was not without its challenges. Installation of the 19 charging locations would take place within a relatively short timeframe, and include a charging interface that was inter-operable between three different bus brands.


Buses on regional routes travelling longer distances are able to charge at along the route, using opportunity charging. 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 buses driving on regional lines and covering larger 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. Two different interfaces were chosen: depot charging via CCS and opportunity charging via pantograph (Bus-Up system).  Interoperability between multiple bus brands was a key requirement for the charging infrastructure. Heliox’s Smart Switch enables the switch between two types of charging, assuring optimal charging times and maximum availability of the entire e-fleet. As a result, Heuliez, Ebusco and VDL buses are kept up and running with an easy interface change between pantograph and CCS charging.


 Based on bus battery capacity, available energy supply and transport strategy, Heliox developed a future-proof infrastructure to guarantees maximum uptime. This project highlights the benefits of Heliox working in close collaboration with all partners, involving Qbuzz, VDL, Ebusco and Heuliez. Gerrit Spijksma, CEO of Qbuzz: “Heliox and other partners have played an important role in meeting deadlines and bringing the concession to completion. The flexibility of all partners involved within the relatively short time- span, is a great accomplishment”.  

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