Vienna Gets 70 Zero-Emission Buses

Lifestyle & TravelCulture ♦ Published: November 2, 2022; 23:51 ♦ (Vindobona)

As part of its climate protection efforts, Vienna achieves a new small milestone. A total of 60 e-buses and 10 H2 buses are being purchased by Wiener Linien. The plan is to convert ten lines to zero-emission drives by 2025.

The Wiener Linien invest in a new and larger bus fleet that is climate-neutral on the road. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons, My Friend, CC BY-SA 3.0

Thanks to the subway and streetcar, 80 percent of passengers in Vienna are already emission-free because Wiener Linien's rail operations are purely electric. Now the public transport company is focusing on decarbonizing its bus fleet.

By 2025, Wiener Linien will buy 60 e-buses and 10 hydrogen buses and build the necessary infrastructure. EvoBus Austria and Solaris Austria emerged as the best bidders in the multi-stage, Europe-wide tender process. EvoBus Austria will deliver 60 eCitaros by 2025, Solaris Austria 10 hydrogen buses of the type "Urbino Hydrogen". Both are 12 meters long and barrier-free.

Infrastructure for environmentally friendly buses

The switch to environmentally friendly drive technologies also requires the development of a charging and refueling infrastructure adapted to technical and operational requirements. On the former bus parking lot in Siebenhirten, Wiener Linien is building a new e-competence center by the end of 2023, which will provide space for around 50 e-buses. The buses will be charged, maintained and repaired there.

Both the Klimaaktiv criteria and energy efficiency played an important role in the planning of the E-competence center. For example, a photovoltaic system on the roof will supply electricity, and the waste heat from the chargers will be used to heat the workshop building.

The bus garage in Spetterbrücke will also be equipped with charging infrastructure, and three fast-charging stations will also be built along the routes. Existing substations of the tram as well as the subway will also be used to supply energy to the charging stations.

The hydrogen buses will be refueled and serviced at the H2 Competence Center at Garage Leopoldau. Wien Energie and Wiener Netze have set up an H2 filling station there, which is also used by external customers. Wiener Linien obtains 100% of its electricity and hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

Ten lines to be converted to E- and H2 buses

Various test runs have shown that battery buses are particularly suitable for rather flatter areas with appropriate charging facilities, while H2 buses can also be used on demanding routes with gradients. By the end of 2025, Wiener Linien will therefore convert lines 17A, 57A, 61A, 61B, 64A, 64B, 70A as well as 71A and 71B to e-buses. Ten hydrogen buses will be on the road on line 39A by the end of 2024.

The buses will be true zero-emission vehicles, battery buses without additional diesel heaters. All buses will also be equipped with a CO2 air conditioning system with a heat pump, which is much more climate-friendly than a conventional bus air conditioning system.

Climate protection project between the state and Wiener Linien

Gudrun Senk, Managing Director of Wiener Linien: "We have tested various buses and prepared intensively for the conversion to zero-emission drives. After all, our ambition is high: we want to reduce emissions while maintaining the quality of our service. The 70 E- and H2 buses will cover more than 13 million kilometers during the first five years of operation, saving around 12,000 tons of CO2."

48 million will be invested in the purchase of 70 zero-emission buses and the construction of fast-charging stations. Of this, around 22 million euros will come from the Ministry of Climate Protection's funding program for "Emission-free buses and infrastructure" (EBIN).

Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler was delighted with this investment and assured that the aim is to "even quadruple the share by 2026". To this end, the federal government is investing for the first time in regional climate-friendly bus transport. According to Gewessler, this is "good and important - because, emission-free buses make an important contribution to our phase-out of fossil fuels. One thing is clear: Only if we switch to renewable energies and reduce our overall consumption can we get a grip on the current energy crisis and also effectively counteract the climate crisis."

In addition, Wiener Linien is investing around 40 million euros in the construction of the modern e-competence center in Siebenhirten, with its own e-bus garage and the associated infrastructure for charging, maintenance and service activities. In total, therefore, an investment of around 90 million euros in emission-free mobility in Vienna.

Public Transport City Councilor Peter Hanke declared Wiener Linien to be a pioneer in climate protection and e-mobility. He praised previous efforts, such as in the city center where battery-powered minibusses have been on the road since 2013. According to Hanke, however, this represents a new milestone, as around one-fifth of the entire bus fleet will be converted to zero-emission drives by 2025. Hanke explained, "This effectively saves CO2, invests in a sustainable growth market and makes Vienna less dependent on energy imports from abroad."

Viennese Lines