German government pledges €1.25bn to fund electric buses

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The German operators’ association VDV (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen) has announced that the German government is to provide significant funding for electrification of bus services in the country. “We have received the green light from the EU: between now and 2024, the federal government can support the development of e-bus fleets and their infrastructure in Germany with a total of €1.25 billion, according to current financial planning,” newly re-elected VDV Vice President Werner Overkamp announced.

The money can be used for the purchase of new electric buses, but also for the conversion of depots and workshops and installation of associated infrastructure.

“This is good news from the federal government and encourages us in our efforts to convert our already climate-friendly bus fleets to emission-free electric drives”, added Werner.

The funding can be used for the procurement and retrofitting of buses with alternative drive systems and the procurement of the infrastructure required for their operation, covering: 80% of the additional investment costs compared to diesel compared to battery-electric, fuel cell buses and trolleybuses; 40% of the additional investment costs compared to diesel for biogas-powered buses; and 40% of the full investment costs for the non-public infrastructure required for operation. It can also fund feasibility studies.

There are currently about 500 battery-electric buses on the road in Germany, a number which is quickly increasing, plus around 1,500 hybrids and 50 fuel cell buses. Operators have already applied for funding for a further 1,400 e-buses, some of which have already been approved.

“According to initial calculations by the VDV, these funds could be sufficient to implement the investments to meet the obligations under the EU’s Clean Vehicles Directive to procure zero-emission vehicles and their infrastructures. It is now necessary to allocate the funds provided in an economically sensible way via an industry agreement on the implementation of a state quota,” concluded Werner.

German federal funding will provide €1.25bn for electric or alternative fuel buses such as the eCitaro. A fleet of eCitaros was in use to transport visitors at the IAA Mobility 2021 event in Munich, which was held between 7 and 12 September. DAIMLER BUSES