Electric buses to be tested in Flemish cities

Summary

Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven will see fully electric buses on the roads in 2019 as part of a test project

Plugging in

Flemish public transport authority De Lijn has announced a pilot project to take place in 2019 that will test the use of electric buses. The buses and related charging infrastructure will be tested in Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven.

“We want to test the viability of the buses, together with the implementation in the public space and energy performance,” said De Lijn director-general Roger Kesteloot.

De Lijn has begun to investigate potential suppliers of the vehicles and are looking at VDL in Roeselare and Van Hool in Lier. VDL recently won a contract for the construction of 100 electric buses for a Dutch transit company.

De Lijn is already running a small test project involving three electric buses in Bruges (pictured). Those buses are equipped with wireless charging using an induction system – an electromagnetic field that transfers energy to the busses’ batteries.

The new, more extensive, project will involve vehicles with batteries that are charged using a cable. “We have seen that 95% of electric buses in Europe are charged using a cable,” a De Lijn spokesperson said. “We are following the evolution of the market closely.”

The test vehicles would have a small battery, allowing more seating, and can be rapidly recharged at the terminus, De Lijn said. Batteries can run for up to 50 minutes, which means the buses are only suitable for urban routes.

Photo courtesy De Lijn

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De Lijn

De Lijn is Flanders’ public transportation system for city and regional travel. It operates bus and tram services across Flanders and parts of Brussels.
Belbus - De Lijn offers a taxi-meets-bus service in sparsely populated areas with its Belbus (Call bus). The Belbus only rides when a user requests it.
Kusttram - De Lijn operates the longest tramline in the world on the Belgian coast. Connecting Knokke in the north all the way to De Panne near the French border, the Coast Tram is the staple means of transportation along the coast.
Stakeholders - Three-quarters of Flemish municipalities are De Lijn stakeholders. Their shares don’t have any monetary value but do earn them a vote in the company’s annual general meeting.
1 990

De Lijn founded

93

largest-ever De Lijn investment in million euros

554

million passenger rides in 2012