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Bonn aims to become Europe’s first city with fully electric public transport

Bonn’s public transport company SWB has been engaged in electric mobility for a while. The outcome of an electric bus network feasibility study is anxiously awaited in December: the goal is to become Europe’s first city with a fully-electric public transport network.



12 August 2013 – With the electric bus built by a Chinese manufacturer, around 50% of the current routes could be operated for one day by electric buses without recharging. SWB estimates that with a range of 385 km all lines could be operated with electric buses.


The bus was tested from June 6 onwards and covered a test distance of more than 1000 km with maximum payload on the Bonn bus network. To further stress the battery capacity, air conditioning and lighting were kept on all the time during the entire test period. The test bus reached a range of 200 km without recharging. And even then, the battery had at least 10% residual capacity.

SWB test drivers were also impressed by the new bus: driving characteristics were similar to a normal bus and the noise emission level outside was very low. In fact, similar buses are already running in cities like Milan and Tel Aviv.

Projects like these are seen as incentives for the development of the electric bus market, which is a step in the right direction towards green mobility, reduced carbon emissions and lower operating costs. Indeed, electric mobility considerably reduces fuel consumption and costs, whereas in the last ten years, diesel prices have risen by 80%.


Together with cooperative partners, SWB commissioned the Fraunhofer Institute for Transport and Infrastructure Systems to develop a feasibility study on the operation of electric buses on the Bonn bus network for economic and technical aspects. The study is set to be published in December and a positive outcome could boost Bonn’s impressive plans on electric mobility.


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