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Are buses with a diesel-powered heater true zero-emission buses?

13.12.2017

The ELIPTIC project in cooperation with the German Association for Public Transport Operators (VDV) organised a workshop in Bremen on "Thermal Management of E-Buses", bringing together leading experts from transport operators, public sector and industry, discussing the question whether buses with a diesel-powered heater can truly be called zero-emission buses and how public transport operators can ensure an effective operation of buses while being committed to zero emissions.

Most electric buses are heated with diesel heaters during the winter. The question of how to heat electric buses cannot be easily answered since using the battery energy not only for driving but also for full electric heating systems would require manufacturers to double the amount of battery power in buses. On December 5th, 2017, 50 experts from German speaking cities came to Bremen to discuss this question and alternatives to diesel-powered heaters. The event was co-organised by Verband Deutscher Verkehrsbetriebe (VDV, German Association for Public Transport Operators) as well as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.Ronny Meyer, Deputy Senator for the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Ministry for the Environment, Urban Planning and Transportation, welcomed the guests and emphasised the importance of electric buses and electric public transportation for air pollution prevention as well as for climate protection. "It takes about 100 electrified passenger cars to achieve the same relief a 18m-electric full battery bus can achieve, because a bus runs up to 12 to 16 hours per day“. Bremen, one of the 16 German Federal States, started a campaign called "factor 100“ at the German Conference of Environment Ministers in May 2017 to initiate a funding programme for electric buses. During the so called „Dieselgipfel“ on August 17, 2017 (a summit dealing with "Diesel gate“), chancellor Angela Merkel announced the funding programme for electric buses, which foresees 100 million Euro annual funding over the next 4 years. As the funding is foreseen for the additional costs in comparison with a standard Diesel bus, the market for electric buses can be boosted with potentially 400-500 buses annually. Axel Dörrie from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety presented details of the upcoming German funding programme starting on January 1st, 2018. In this new Programme, fossil fuel-powered heaters will be accepted to spur the market for electric buses. He stated that there is no alternative to the electric bus, as "we need to get rid of fossil fuels for on street transport, to be able to reach the climate protection goals“. Today’s usage of Diesel in e-bus heating systems is perceived as an interim solution, a necessary evil when launching electric bus systems. Dr. Thoralf Knote from Fraunhofer IVI (Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems) stated at the workshop: “The diesel heater consumes 4 litres per 100 km and only in wintertime while at the same time the electric bus saves approximately 40-50 litres of Diesel per 100 km in comparison to a Diesel combustion engine“. Alternative fuels for the heaters like bioethanol were discussed as well. The manufacturers of cooling and heating aggregates present at the workshop introduced their heating pumps to the participants, which soon will be available on the market. This might provide a solution to reduce the fossil fuel consumption of heaters down to real low ambient temperatures.Jens Schmitz from VDV pointed out that at the moment there are approximately 160 fully-electric battery buses running in Germany. Towards the end of 2018, there will be 250 and interest has been expressed by German transport operators to run more than 600. However, currently only few manufacturers exist that can provide buses with the operating daily range the operators would like to see on the market. You can download all presentations <link http: www.eliptic-project.eu news are-buses-diesel-powered-heater-true-zero-emission-buses external-link-new-window external link in new>here.

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Further Information

Henning Günter

+49 221 6060 55 13

h.guenter@rupprecht-consult.eu

Wolfgang Backhaus

+49 221 6060 55 19

w.backhaus@rupprecht-consult.eu

Ronny Meyer, Deputy Senator for the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Ministry for the Environment, Urban Planning and Transportation, emphasised the importance of electric buses and electric public transportation for air pollution prevention as well as for climate protection