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16 Apr 2021, 13:46
Sören Amelang

German transport minister calls for speeding up switch to climate-friendly buses

dpa / Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany must ramp up its transition to low-emission buses, transport minister Andreas Scheuer has said. "In order to achieve our climate targets in the long run, we must rely even more on alternative drives," Scheuer said, according to a report by newswire dpa carried by Süddeutsche Zeitung. But he added that replacing the country's fleet of more than 80,000 buses, 55,000 of which are in public transport, is a huge task. "Buses with alternative propulsion systems are currently not competitive with diesel buses because of high investment costs," Scheuer told an online bus event. He added that the federal government plans to overcome this problem by supporting the purchase of buses running on batteries, fuel cells, biomethane and catenary systems with 1.2 billion euros until 2024. He said investment support could start right after the EU commission approves the support scheme, which is expected during this quarter.

Public procurement currently leads the way in cleaning up heavy vehicles, as public authorities around the world invest heavily in electric buses. The number of e-buses has risen to around 4,000 in Europe, compared to roughly 400,000 in China. Germany's automotive industry has been slow in offering low-emission buses, forcing cities such as Berlin to opt for electric buses by Poland’s Solaris.

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