Towards the end of 2020, Düsseldorf’s Rheinbahn (Rheinische Bahngesellschaft AG) took delivery of ten electric buses of the type “Irizar ie bus 12” from the Spanish manufacturer Irizar e-mobility (from Ormaiztegui in the Basque Country). The parent company Irizar is far from being a “newcomer” in bus construction – the company has been around since 1889.
In 2020, the new Rheinbahn electric buses were numbered 6001 to 6010 and operate from the “Handweiser” depot in the Düsseldorf district of Heerdt.
During the night of 1 April 2021, a major fire broke out at this depot, which claimed the lives of no fewer than eight of the Irizar, which were only a few weeks old. It is still not clear what caused this catastrophic fire.
In any case, Rheinbahn immediately ordered eight replacement buses of the same type from Irizar. They are now being delivered numbered 6011 to 6018. These new “ie bus 12” have a battery capacity of 300 kWh. Inside, the battery buses offer 34 seats and 27 standing places as well as two multi-purpose areas for passengers with wheelchairs or prams and a folding ramp to make it easier for mobility-impaired passengers to get on and off. Leather seats and air conditioning provide extra passenger comfort.
More battery electric buses are in the pipeline. The Europe-wide tender for 20 more battery buses is underway, at the same time as a tender for ten hydrogen buses, ten more have already been ordered. Rheinbahn says: “We are open to technology. The use of the buses in daily operation will show which alternative drive is best suited to our requirements.”
A modern bus port for 60 zero-emission buses will be built there by mid-2024 to replace the hall destroyed in the fire at the Heerdt depot.14.04.2023