De Lijn orders 60 e-buses

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BELGIUM

The board of Flemish operator De Lijn has approved the order of 60 electric buses from local manufacturers Van Hool and VDL. Part of a framework agreement for a total of 350 e-buses, the order marks a step towards the operator’s goal of having a fully zero-emission fleet and accompanying infrastructures by 2035. The purchase of charging infrastructure from Spie-Ekoenergetyka and Heliox was also approved, with each supplying 50% of the required infrastructure.

De Lijn said that Van Hool and VDL were the best ranked competitors in the public tender that attracted 11 bids, and offered the best price-quality terms relating to total cost of ownership, zero-emission range, technical quality, and look and feel. Van Hool will supply 60% of the order, representing 36 e-buses, and VDL will supply the remaining 24. The order represents an investment of approximately €28 million. The remaining 290 of the 350 vehicles will be ordered following an evaluation of the initial e-buses.

Lydia Peeters, Flemish Mobility and Public Works Minister, said: “This is the first real step by De Lijn in the greenification of public transport in Flanders. A few weeks ago, the Flemish government announced an ambitious climate plan in which public transport plays an important role. In order to reach our climate targets, Flanders will need to draw the card of sustainable transfers. We need to implement a more fluid, safe and environment-friendly public transport.”

Ann Schoubs, De Lijn’s Director General, added: “This tender empowers us to bring on board the most recent e-bus technology. These attractive e-buses meet concrete demands and wishes from our clients. For instance, wheelchair users will be able to board and leave our e-buses independently as they are fitted with electric ramps for easier and faster use. In addition, our board also approved the request to order charging infrastructure for e-buses and e-hybrids. This will allow us to optimally service urban areas emission-free. In short, with the financial means placed at our disposal by the Flemish government, we can make a significant first step in our greenification strategy.”

Both orders are financed by NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s Covid recovery plan.

See this week’s issue for an interview with Ann looking at how De Lijn is positioning itself for the future.