The city of Basel, located on the Rhine at the confluence of Switzerland, Germany and France, plans to fully electrify its bus routes, and power them with 100% renewable energy, by 2027. Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB)’s fleet currently includes 115 buses serving 14 routes (there are also 135 trams serving 9 lines).
The city’s latest tender consists of 62 electric buses, of which 54 will be Mercedes-Benz eCitaros—38 eCitaro rigid buses and 16 articulated eCitaro G buses. The vehicles will be delivered “in the coming year.”
“From spring 2023 almost half of our fleet will be electrically powered. Our bus fleet will therefore become more environmentally friendly, quieter and more modern,” says BVB Director Bruno Stehrenberger.
Each of the eCitaro buses is equipped with ten “battery groups.” They can be charged either via a charging connector or by means of a pantograph with a power output of up to 300 kW. To ensure the greatest possible traction, the articulated bus features a driven central axle in addition to the driven rear axle.
The city has also ordered 8 electric buses from Swiss bus manufacturer Carrosserie Hess. These will serve route 50, which runs from the city’s main train station to the EuroAirport, just across the border in France. This route has reached the limit of its capacity, but BVB decided that increasing service frequency would not be practical. Hess’s lighTram 25OPP electric bus measures 25 meters, about 6 meters longer than the replaced diesel buses, thus providing more space for passengers and allowing capacity to be increased with the same number of buses.
“With our experience and geographical proximity, we will be able to optimally support BVB over the lifetime of the buses,” said Alex Naef, CEO of Carosserie Hess.
As part of the transition to e-buses, BVB will completely redevelop its depot and garages, adding charging infrastructure. The five longest routes will have stations for en route charging at the terminal stops.