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HHA Hamburg: 20 million kilometres with electric buses

The first MAN Lion's City 12 E for the HHA poses in front of the "Miniature Wonderland" at Kehrwieder | © Christian Marquordt

Remarkable news from Hamburg’s elevated railway: as of the third decade of March 2024, HHA’s electric buses have already covered 20 million kilometres. This is all the more remarkable given that there is still a persistent perception here and there that battery buses are not really operational for daily use in regular services. This is due to the limited range of its batteries.

The first production-ready battery bus went into operation at Hochbahn in 2019. By mid-2024, HHA will have 260 battery-electric buses in operation, 199 solo and 61 articulated vehicles. This will correspond to almost exactly a quarter of the total 1,100 buses operated by Hochbahn. By the end of 2024, there will already be 315 electric buses, 237 solo coaches and 78 articulated buses.

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro at Speersort | © Daimler Buses

Robert Henrich, CEO of Hochbahn: “We are on track with the conversion of our bus fleet to environmentally friendly drive systems.”

Since 2020, Hamburger Hochbahn has only been purchasing zero-emission buses. These are currently stationed at three depots: Alsterdorf, Hummelsbüttel and Langenfelde. From the beginning of April, the Harburg II depot will also receive its first electric buses. This means that electric buses will then also be used on routes in the Harburg area.

Hamburg’s HHA currently has 300 charging stations for its battery electric buses. By the end of the year, there will be 400 charging stations.

Hochbahn points out in particular that the range of the electric buses has almost doubled since the first such buses were put into service. The coaches from 2020 still had a range of 150 kilometres, but this has now almost doubled to 270 kilometres without recharging for the solo coaches. No more talk of having to create recharging facilities at every terminus or constantly having to replace buses due to empty batteries …

CEO Henrich: “We want to have completely converted our bus fleet to environmentally friendly drive systems by the early 2030s. However, this will be an enormous feat, not least in economic terms. Electric buses are still expensive. What’s more, the federal subsidy is coming to an end!”

Parallel to the conversion of the bus fleet, the depots are being equipped with the necessary charging infrastructure.

Solaris Urbino 18 electric with fuel cell range extender at the “E-Bus-ZOB” at the main railway station on 18 December 2014 | © Christian Marquordt
Volvo 7.700 A Hybrid at a presentation at the main station on 18 December 2014 | © Christian Marquordt
Fuel cell hybrid bus 1143 under the inverted charging station at Alsterdorf underground station | © Rüdiger Schuckay
Hamburg fuel cell bus for the anniversary “125 years of Sylt Transport Company” in the harbour of List (Sylt) | © Renate Marquordt
Project not pursued further for the time being: Citaro fuel cell bus in Bernhard-Nocht-Straße | © Christian Marquordt
Solaris Urbino 12 electric on the Lombardsbrücke in front of a famous city backdrop | © HHA