The first unit of a new generation of battery-trolleybuses arrived at the depot Alpenstrasse in Salzburg, Austria, on 27 August 2019. The articulated bus numbered 401 is a trolleybus with additional off-wire capacity. It uses powerful traction batteries while driving on the streets without overhead wires and recharges the batteries once it runs under the existing trolleybus overhead network. By this means trolleybus routes can be extended beyond existing termini without installing new wires.
Such buses are in use on some European (and other) trolleybus systems, using different brand names like battery trolleybus, hybrid trolleybus, Hybrid-Trolleybus, In-Motion-Charging, Dynamic Charging, among others.
Salzburg planned not only to extend its network but investment was also necessary to renew parts of the current trolleybus fleet. A network extension from line 5 terminus at Birkensiedlung to nearby Grödig had been on the agenda for quite some time. Operator Salzburg AG started a EU-wide tender process in late 2018 and awarded Swiss bus and coach builder HESS AG in Bellach for the supply of the new trolleybus fleet.
Salzburg’s „eObus“: Hess BGT-N 1 D
Locally the new trolleybuses are referred to as „eObus“, the official model name is „Hess BGT-N 1 D“:
B = Bus
G = Gelenk (articlulated)
T = Trolley
N = Niederflur (low floor)
1 = one drive
The total length is 18.750 mm and the total weight 29.000 kg. The bus is capable of carrying 155 passengers, thereof 38 seated. Two wheel-chair spaces are included. The buses charge the batteries while using the trolleybus overhead lines and apply a „self learning energy management system“ for optimization of the energy consumption and charging of the batteries.
Hess will supply a total of 15 BGT-N 1 D, numbered 401-415. Ten of them will arrive in Salzburg before the end of the year and the remainder by spring 2020.
Extension of line 5
Existing trolleybus route 5 will be extended from Birkensiedlung to the terminus of the Untersberg cableway in Sankt Leonhard, a part of Grödig over a distance of 4.2 km.
The opening of this new extension will happen in two sections: Starting on 9 September 2019, a single „eObus“ will be in service every 90 minutes between Hauptbahnhof and Untersbergbahn. From 14 October 2019 a second Hess BGT-N 1 D will improve the frequence to a 45 minutes headway.