Why doesn't Tesla make electric buses

Electromobility in Hamburg Electric drive on Hamburg's streets

The federal government is investing EUR 47 million

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is funding the conversion from local public transport in Hamburg to e-mobility with a total of 47 million euros. The money was handed over to the Hamburg transport companies Hochbahn and VHH. This pays for 96 e-buses and 128 chargers to power the battery buses at the respective depots.

The total costs for both companies amount to 102 million euros. There are currently 50 emission-free buses in the whole of Hamburg (35 on the Hochbahn and 18 on the VHH). This year, 30 more electric buses are to be added to the fleet at Hochbahn and 22 at VHH.

"Hamburg makes e-mobiles"

Around 136,600 electric cars are currently registered across Germany, and the trend is rising. (Status: 2020) For comparison: in 2019 there were around 83,600. In Hamburg, too, there are more and more cars on the streets that are powered by electricity. In order to increase this number, the "Hamburg makes e-mobiles" campaign was started back in 2013, which aims to make the purchase of electric vehicles more attractive.
This also includes the change in the law that came into effect in November 2015, which exempts electric cars from paying parking fees throughout the city - free parking is allowed for two hours. To this end, the network of electric charging stations is being expanded and new labels for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids give preference to these when parking at the power posts.
So far, around 1,000 charging stations are available to users in the entire Hamburg city area (as of 2020). Only certified green electricity is offered at all charging points of the urban charging facilities.

Note: One Overview of the electric charging stations in Hamburg, if you select "Topics" - Technical data - Mobility information - "Electric charging stations" on our traffic map.

VHH: Emission-free from 2020

Verkehrsbetrieb Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH) has been purchasing emission-free buses with purely battery-electric drives since 2020. VHH is currently building the infrastructure required to operate these vehicles. Among other things, a partially new workshop was built in Hamburg-Bergedorf for the maintenance of the e-buses. But trained drivers, an intelligent operations control system, increasing digitalization and, last but not least, smart charging management are also in the planning stage. VHH is investing a good 10 million euros.

“We will continue to digitize our company in key areas and also invest in smart charging management so that a vision can soon become reality. For the good of Hamburg, for a clean, emission-free and quiet bus system in the Hanseatic city, ”explained VHH managing director Jan Görnemann. District Office Manager Arne Dornquast added: “We are very pleased that VHH, as a project partner for the field of e-mobility in local public transport, is starting to implement the construction measures for the new e-bus infrastructure. This laying of the foundation stone is a visible sign of change and an essential innovation project for Hamburg and Bergedorf on the way to a climate-friendly smart city of the future. "

Hybrid buses from VHH

Low-emission diesel and diesel hybrid buses are currently used on 160 VHH bus routes. Hybrid buses in particular have low fuel consumption because they recover braking energy that can be reused when starting off. The buses start electrically at the bus stop with a charged battery, and the low-emission diesel engine switches on from a speed of 20 km / h. The vehicles are particularly quiet in electric mode and offer a pleasantly quiet journey. In this way, fuel and emissions savings of over 20 percent can be achieved.

Image: © Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein AG

Since October 2014, the new "Elektrobergziege" has even been the first completely emission-free public bus in the Hamburg metropolitan region on line 48 in the Blankeneser stairs district. The electric bus with Siemens engine developed by the Italian manufacturer Rampini takes just as long to cover the 5.2 kilometer route as its predecessor. It is quiet and low-maintenance, brakes and accelerates smoothly and can recover energy when braking. Charging takes place several times during the day via a plug connection at the Blankenese station forecourt, the batteries of the electric bus are then fully charged overnight at the VHH depot in Schenefeld.

The elevated railway becomes a "climate protector"

The approximately 1,000 diesel buses in the Hochbahn fleet have been constantly being replaced by e-buses since the beginning of 2020. The aim of the stock corporation is to have switched all buses to emission-free drives by 2030.
The first 30 Hochbahn electric buses have been on the streets of Hamburg since 2019. A further 530 of these buses are to follow in the years 2021 to 2025. For the first time, these will include around 50 articulated electric buses ready for series production.

The largest tender in Germany to date for electric buses went to the three manufacturers Daimler Buses, MAN Truck & Bus and Solaris. Both conventional lithium-ion batteries and solid-state batteries are used for the delivery of zero-emission solo and articulated battery buses. So far, no fixed number has been published. What is certain, however, is that well over 140 battery buses will be called up from the contract by 2022.

It is also planned that the first two articulated fuel cell buses will go into operation as so-called "range extenders" by the end of 2021. These vehicles are being developed together with hydrogen technology from Mercedes-Benz and should have a range of up to 400 kilometers.

Electric buses in the line operation of the elevated railway

New electric buses for the elevated railway: The transport company will be using new Solaris Urbino 12 electric buses from 2019. Initially, two vehicles of this type were on the road in the city, and eight more will follow by the end of the year. Together with 20 electric buses from EvoBus, 35 vehicles with electric drives will be driving on Hamburg's streets by the end of 2019. The buses are mainly used in the north of Hamburg.

The three-door Urbino 12 electric has 70 passenger seats, including 25 seats and a range of 150 kilometers. The power supply is provided by lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 240 kilowatt hours. The vehicle is charged at the depot via a plug connection. In addition, the vehicle gains electrical energy through recuperation: the two electric motors on the drive axle convert the vehicle's kinetic energy back into electricity when the brakes are applied.

There are currently 30 vehicles in daily passenger use in Hamburg and have covered more than 200,000 kilometers since they were put into operation. The replacement of the vehicles as part of the strategic restructuring of the entire fleet is ongoing.

In 2018, Hochbahn put a total of 60 series-production electric buses out to tender. Of these, 20 EvoBus and 10 Solaris vehicles were ordered for 2019, and another 30 vehicles were optioned for 2020. At the end of the year, the first tender for series-ready electric articulated buses was issued. In parallel to the procurement of the vehicles, the first depot completely geared towards electric buses is being built in Alsterdorf, on which 240 electric buses will be stationed in the future. Commissioning took place punctually on April 1, 2019.

Environmentally friendly traffic on the elevated railway

Image: © Hamburger Hochbahn AG

The innovation line 109 was also on the road from 2014 to 2019. For the first time in Germany, a bus line went into passenger service that is to be served exclusively by buses with innovative drive technologies. Different bus types with environmentally friendly drives - for example diesel-electric hybrid buses, fuel cell hybrid buses or pure hybrid buses - are to be tested and scientifically evaluated on the approximately ten-kilometer route. The hybrid buses were abolished again in 2019. The reason for the end of the hydrogen buses was the manufacturer's delivery difficulties, who were not able to build the means of transport in series.

Rent electric cars in Hamburg

Until the acquisition costs for electric cars have fallen, environmentally conscious people can rent electric cars from the following providers:

  • The car sharing provider DriveNow has a BMW i3 in its fleet
  • The "Green Collection" from Hertz: Hertz car rental
  • For example, Starcar offers three VW E-Up !: Share a Starcar in Mümmelmannsberg as part of the "Share a Starcar" car sharing model.
  • The car sharing provider Cambio offers an electric car at three stations in the city: Cambio car sharing
  • Flinkster, the DB's car sharing service, offers the option of selecting "only electric vehicles" in its vehicle search: Flinkster.
  • No electric cars, but an overview that can be sorted by emission value is offered by Europcar: Europcar car rental.

Note: If you want to buy an electric vehicle from the premium segment in Hamburg, you can do so at Tesla, for example: The Californian electric vehicle provider has had a flagship store in the Große Bleichen since October 2014.