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Belgian transit agency De Lijn invests in intelligent charging and depot management software

De Lijn, a public transport agency that serves the Flanders region of Belgium, operates a fleet of around 2,240 buses and 399 trams. The company plans to offer emission-free public transport by 2035, which means that approximately 2,100 buses and more than 50 depots must be updated.

De Lijn recently installed an integrated depot and charging management system to control the charging of its electric buses. The value of the contract is approximately €11 million.

The price of electricity in Europe has greatly increased in the past year, highlighting the importance of optimizing the charging of e-buses. In the future, De Lijn’s energy costs will be subject to time-of-use pricing. The e-buses can be charged at their depots at night, when electricity costs are lower. “Certainly at the larger depots, where more than 100 e-buses are charged every day, it is impossible to efficiently manage the charging process manually,” says the company.

Going green involves “more than just buying e-buses,” said Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters (translated from the Flemish). “The software…is just as crucial [and] is an important link to ensure that the e-buses run smoothly and are charged at the e-depots. At the end of the day, the system determines which task each bus will be assigned the following day. Depending on this daily task, the buses are guided to their correct positions in the depot, so that they can leave at the right time in the morning.”

The Depot+ system schedules the entire charging process on the basis of each bus’s state of charge to ensure that it gets charged as cost-effectively as possible to be able to handle its next day’s work. The automatic charging process starts as soon as the driver connects the CCS2 plug.

“With [software provider] PSI eBus for De Lijn, we are bringing in a supplier who can rely on extensive experience with other Western European public transport companies,” says Ann Schoubs, Director-General of De Lijn. “It is striking how well this application can anticipate unexpected situations. At De Lijn, the traveler is central. For an e-bus, it starts in the morning, when the bus can leave exactly on time and with the right battery charge.”

Source: De Lijn

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