01 Mar 2021, 14:08
Charlotte Nijhuis

Number of e-buses in German public transport doubled in 2020, fuel cell falling behind – report

Der Spiegel

The number of electric buses in German public transport doubled last year compared to 2019, says a report published by consulting firm PwC, Der Spiegel writes. According to the analysis, the number of vehicles with battery, hybrid, overhead line or fuel cell technology increased by 357 to 676 in 2020. Most e-buses have pure battery drive (502), whereas only 64 buses are powered by fuel cell, according to the report. "E-buses work, we are no longer in the testing phase," a spokesperson for Berlin's public transport company (BVG) told Der Spiegel. However, in early February, when temperatures dipped to minus 15 degrees Celsius, the city had “slight problems” with e-buses without diesel heating, BVG said. The range of the vehicles was shorter and on 8 and 9 February just under two percent of the e-bus service had to be cancelled, the company says.
PwC expects the share of e-drives to continue to increase rapidly. Almost 1,000 new battery buses will be added this year, the consultancy writes. Local transport companies plan to use more than 3,000 additional e-buses nationwide by 2025, according to the report.

The take-up of electric vehicles has been slow in Germany, but thanks to new government incentives, registrations have picked up sharply and reached record numbers in recent months. However, Germany still has a long way to go in making transportation climate-friendly, as cars still play a central role in mobility. Since the start of the pandemic, public transport seems to have been losing ground to individual transport modes, such as private cars. The increase in car use presents a problem for the energy transition, as emissions from the transport sector have already been stubbornly high.

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