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E-buses: de lijn actively goes green

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De Lijn is continuing with the greening of public transport. With the purchase of electric buses (e-buses) we are taking a new, important step towards achieving the climate targets.

De Lijn has a phased implementation plan ready that provides for the optimal emission-free operation of urban areas by 2025 and completely emission-free public transport by 2035. This plan includes both the complete greening of the bus fleet and the conversion of the depots, including the necessary charging infrastructure.

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Electric buses as a means of public transport

With their zero emissions, electric buses have a ‘green’ propulsion system. Instead of a conventional combustion engine powered by fossil fuels such as diesel or petrol, they have an electric motor and batteries we charge with electricity.

Outwardly – as is the case with electric cars – there is little or no visible difference between them and ordinary buses. However, you can recognise an electric bus from its orange stickers with a white flash. This also tells the fire brigade and emergency services that this is an e-bus. You can now also see these stickers on the hybrid buses.

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Greener and quieter too

The new electric buses have several big advantages.

  • They don’t emit harmful substances such as CO2 (a greenhouse gas), NOx (acid rain, harmful to health) and fine particulate matter (harmful to the heart and respiratory tract). Because De Lijn only buys green electricity, there are no emissions from producing the energy either. Which makes them good for the climate, the environment and the health of local residents.
  • They are very quiet: all you can hear is a humming sound. When leaving the stop, the bus is actually three times quieter than an ordinary diesel bus. Like trams, they do have a bell, though, to allow the driver to let pedestrians or cyclists know that the bus is coming.
  • They are modern and comfortable, with plenty of space and easy access for passengers.

Figures that speak for themselves

By replacing diesel buses with electric buses, De Lijn will save 37 million liters of diesel per year by 2035. As a result, our e-buses will reduce CO2 emissions by 95,000 tons annually.

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Greening strategy

De Lijn has learned from an international market survey and after an internal analysis that greening is best carried out in phases. This analysis has led to a realistic plan to drive emission-free throughout Flanders by 2035, with buses under our own management and those of the partner operators. This plan, which is based on the lowest possible risk and total cost of ownership, consists of three pillars

The purchase of electric buses is the simplest part of the greening program. The real challenge lies in the conversion of the 138 depots, so that the electric buses can charge there overnight. De Lijn has learned from the experience of other public transport companies in Europe that such a conversion of the depots is the real bottleneck and can take up to 7 years.

This greening is offset by a long-term investment of 3.9 to 5.2 billion euros, depending on the size of the conversion works at the depots. If De Lijn receives the necessary resources in time, emissions of unhealthy gases can be reduced by 75% by 2025. Ultimately, De Lijn's plan provides for 3433 e-buses by 2035, which will drive 200 million emission-free km every year.

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Pilot or start-up projects

In Leuven and Antwerp we have already started a pilot project with 5 e-buses each. Ghent will follow in early 2022.

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Leuven pilot project

First e-bus fleet in a Flemish city center
Rapid charging point at the Campus Heverlee Arenberg stop

Antwerp pilot project

Line 17 (Brouwersvliet - Central Station - UZ Antwerp): 5 e-buses in the heart of Antwerp
Rapid charging point at the UZ Antwerpen stop

Ghent pilot project

Line 6 Ghent Watersportbaan - Mariakerke Post
Loading only at the depot

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Deploying e-buses involves much more than just purchasing them. It also includes:

  • Installing charging infrastructure;
  • Ensuring a connection to the network operators’ energy supply in our depots and along bus routes;
  • Deploy dedicated monitoring and management software. We use this to perform loading, depot and fleet management.

How does charging work?

Together with our partners, we will equip 138 depots with charging infrastructure by approximately 2035.

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Depot charging

Charging point like that for your electric car at home
Overnight charging

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Did you know?

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Investments

What investments are needed to make this project a success?

The choice for e-buses

Why have De Lijn and Flemish minister Lydia Peeters made a deliberate choice in favour of electric buses?

Timing

Where are we today and what you can expect in the years ahead?