Two provinces in the northern part of the Netherlands, Groningen and Drenthe, have ordered 159 long-range all-electric buses for use in provincial public transportation. One all-electric bus manufacturer EBUSCO will provide 60 of those e-buses.
EBUSCO’s 12-meter-long electric buses have an an estimates range of 248 miles (400 kilometers). This long range makes them ideal for moving people not just inside an inner city but throughout the province. What’s more, since there is no fast-charging infrastructure in the region, the EBUSCO buses’ ability to be recharged through a traditional plug enables their widespread use.
The virtually silent buses have been fitted with a sound that drivers can activate at lower speeds, such as when entering a bus depot, that mimics the sound of a street car chime. EBUSCO hopes this bell-like ringing sound will soon become synonymous with e-buses as well. On the inside, riders will find USB ports to recharge their devices as well as what EBUSCO brags are “comfortable seats are installed for the long distance.”
When implemented, the 159-unit e-bus fleet will represent the largest 12-meter all-electric fleet in Europe.
A Model Solution
In 2012, around 81% of the Netherlands’ electricity came from burning fossil fuels. However, the country is keen to change that. Just last month, the Netherlands announced it was outlawing coal-fired power plants, according to Reuters. By 2024, the country’s coal-burning power plants would need to switch to another fuel source or shut down.
This is significant because, although coal-fired power plants are slightly more efficient than internal-combustion engines as a propulsion energy generation source, they’re not much better. So, switching from diesel-powered buses to EVs doesn’t represent a big improvement, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, unless you change the source of electricity as well.
That said, if the Netherlands can lean on renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels to power its e-buses, the environmental benefit will be significant. If all goes well here, this is proof of concept for long range electric buses around the world.