Europa | Europe
martes 26 de abril de 2022
Spain becomes Europe’s test bench for 100% electric public transport
These tests not only look for the hardest point of consumption with temperatures, the hottest in summer and the coldest in winter, but also with the great length of public transport lines that characterize our country.
Compartí la nota

Between Madrid and San Sebastian there are not only 550 kilometers of distance. There is also an abysmal difference in temperatures. Only in summer in the first «suffer» 40 degrees and in the second the mercury drops to 20.

An extreme climate that has turned Spain and several of its cities into a European test bench for testing autonomy and making the development of 100% electric transport a reality.

All this in the current context of the implementation of the Climate Change Law, which implies that, by 2023, cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants must create Low Emission Zones, which obliges city councils to invest in sustainable mobility alternatives for citizens, being able to attract European funds, partly aimed at promoting electrification.

These tests not only seek the hardest point of consumption with temperatures, the hottest in summer and the coldest in winter, but also with the great length of public transport lines that characterize our country.

Specifically, Spanish lines are between 15 and 20 kilometers long with an average of 45 and 50 stops, according to the Metropolitan Mobility Observatory 2020, prepared by the Transport Research Center of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (TRANSyT).

For all these reasons, the tests are not being concentrated in a single location, but the maximum possible range of scenarios is being sought, so that in a first phase, MAN Truck & Bus is carrying out tests in San Sebastian, Zaragoza, Valencia, Alicante, Alcoy, Caceres, Seville, Malaga, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Badajoz, Bilbao, Barcelona, Gerona, Santander and Madrid city, to test the capabilities of the electric bus with the Lion’s City in its two versions, 12 E and 18.

A demanding test field is thus formed, with cities that are very different from each other, seeking the greatest geographical disparity and, therefore, testing the vehicle in all possible terrains to develop and make electric technology viable.

This means being able to cover full shifts of between 15 and 20 uninterrupted hours, without intermediate recharging, and even reaching the end of the day with energy left over, a sign that they are not at the limit.

However, under favorable conditions, the capacity can be up to 550 kilometers, as was shown by the results of the MAN eBus Efficiency Run conducted last spring on a city bus line in Munich, which far exceeds the needs of the operators, who usually need to cover between 200 and 300 kilometers a day, so that the performance of the electric bus is already on a par with that of the diesel.

Tests beyond the bus itself

Making the electrification of public transport a reality also involves taking the tests to the driving style and the management of the lines themselves, given their influence on autonomy.

In particular, electric bus drivers have a significant impact on the performance of the bus through their driving style, so it is necessary to focus on their retraining in order to achieve a profitable driving style.

And if we talk about the relationship between bus capacity and line management, it is key to analyze the topography, number of stops or weather conditions in each line, to analyze the capacity that each bus must offer to provide the service smoothly without the need for opportunity charging systems.

This closes the circle of electromobility, a growing trend especially in urban areas: in 2020, the total European electric bus market amounted to more than 2,000 vehicles.

Specifically, the electric bus market in 2021 grew by around 50% with a total of 3,282 units.

In line with this market development, MAN’s goal is to put more electric buses on the road: «By 2025, half of our new city buses will be powered by alternative propulsion. And we expect that just five years later, in 2030, 90 percent of our city buses will be delivered with battery drive,» says Rudi Kuchta, head of the bus business unit at MAN Truck & Bus.

A historic sustainable strategy

Research and development in new zero-emission technologies is part of MAN Truck & Bus’ strategy, even though it has been committed for 50 years to research into alternative, sustainable solutions such as electrification, hybridization and even hydrogen.

In fact, the company’s first electric bus dates back to 1970 and, although Tokyo’s commitment to sustainability in transport is being highlighted at the next Olympic Games, in Munich 1972 the athletes were already traveling in electric MAN buses.

This commitment of MAN Truck & Bus to the electric articulated bus is already reflected in several cities in Europe, such as Cologne or Nuremberg (Germany) and Barcelona (with TMB), which have in operation and testing 18-meter articulated buses, the longest and heaviest of the fleet, thus putting the maximum