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The overview: Electric buses for Spain

– New orders from Madrid, Valladolid and elsewhere –

After a rather slow start only a few years ago, the conversion of the fleets of municipal transport companies in Spain has now clearly picked up speed. No real surprise that the two largest cities with over a million inhabitants, Madrid and Barcelona, are taking a leading role.

Madrid

EMT Madrid has just announced orders for 150 more 12-metre electric buses. The winners of the tender are the manufacturers Irizar e-mobility and Solaris, while the Chinese manufacturer BYD, which has supplied considered so far, comes away empty-handed.

Irizar will deliver 90 more of its “ie bus” model already represented at EMT. For Solaris it is the first e-bus order from EMT, following the delivery of a total of 250 CNG buses to Madrid since last year. 60 of its Urbino 12 electric model will be delivered by the Polish manufacturer, which has been part of the Spanish CAF Group since 2018. All e-buses in Madrid (with the exception of 5 midi buses with inductive charging system) are depot chargers, no charging stations will be built in the city area.

Madrid is investing €82 million in the new 150 e-buses, which will be partly covered by state & EU funds. The purchase price is approximately 550,000 EUR per vehicle.

Together with the existing electric buses or those already ordered and in delivery, the total stock will thus grow to 329 purely electric buses by the end of 2023. This includes 26 minibuses, but no articulated vehicles for the time being. On the other hand, a Solaris Urbino 9 LE midibus is expected for testing in Madrid this year. By 2033, EMT wants to convert its fleet of currently around 2,100 vehicles completely to zero-emission buses, more than 500 e-buses should already operate in 2025.

It comes as quite a surprise that EMT is decommissioning and selling 30 hybrid buses procured as recently as 2016/7 as part of its strategy to phase out diesel buses by the end of 2022.


The introduction of electric buses is under preparation in various suburbs of the Madrid metropolitan area, too. One concrete order concerns the city of Fuenlabrada with four Solaris Urbino 12 electric for delivery in 2023. A three-axle Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric serves the interurban line 713 operated by ALSA between Tres Cantos and Madrid since February 2022. Two Urbino 12 electric will soon start service on urban routes in Tres Cantos.

A brand new Solaris 15 LE electric is successfully operating on ALSA’s interurban line between Madrid and Tres Cantos | © Budach
Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen operating in Torrejón de Ardóz | © Budach
Volvo E-Bus tested in Rivas near Madrid | © Asociación Castellana de Amigos del Autobús

Test vehicles from Solaris, but also from other manufacturers, are eagerly on the road, such as a Volvo in Rivas in May 2022. In Torrejón de Ardóz, the first fuel cell bus supplied by Caetano/Toyota has been in regular service since 2021 (see here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/first-trial-of-caetano-fuel-cell-bus-in-spain/ ), and a Solaris bus is also being tested with passengers.

Barcelona

TMB currently has a tender outstanding for 45 electric 12-metre-buses (+18 option) and 20 articulated ones, all of them for delivery in 2023. 30 e-buses are currently in the fleet, all articulated buses from Irizar, Solaris and MAN. This includes one of the two MAN Lion’s City 18 E prototypes.

Orders have been placed for 78 more e-buses: In case of the 12-metre-buses 25 will come from BYD for the first time and an additional 24 from Solaris, while Irizar will deliver another 29 articulated vehicles of the “ie tram 18” model. 8 fuel cell buses will deliver Caetano/Toyota – the first has already been in service since March. TMB’s Irizar and Solaris articulated e-buses are designed with roof-mounted current collectors for opportunity charging on the route, the 12-metre-buses as depot chargers.

One of the first two MAN Lion’s City 18 E artic. operating on TMB’s route 34 | © Budach
Barcelona’s first Caetano hydrogen bus, here at Pl. Francesc Macià. The vehicle’s doors have been provided by Spanish manufacturer Masats | © Budach

In the next three years, the e-bus fleet is to grow to 233 units, plus 46 hydrogen buses. We last reported on the TMB here:
https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/the-electric-way-barcelona/

From 2023, a bus rapid transit (BRT) line denominated M8 will connect Castelldefels with the Cornella district and will be equipped with partial dedicated lanes and traffic light priority – it is described as the first BRT line in Barcelona. 12 electric articulated buses are to operate here.

Map of future BRT service between Castelldefels and Cornellà | © Ayuntamiento de Castelldefels

In the Barcelona metropolitan area, e-buses also operate on some interurban routes, such as the Irizar “ie bus” operated by AVANZA along with some BYD. The same operator is currenty testing a Karsan 12-metre ebus in Mataró. Solaris will deliver two more midibuses of the new type Urbino 9 LE electric to Soler I Sauret in Sant Feliu de Llobregat and to Sagalés in Manresa this year, after two vehicles for Martorell. Manresa will also receive six Solaris Urbino 12 electric.

Four BYD pure-electric articulated buses are scheduled for delivery to Sant Cugat de Vallès towards the end of 2022.

Karsan e-bus on test in Mataró in June 2022 | © Miguel Segura Llop
The first articulated BYD e-buses will go to Sant Cugat near Barcelona | © BYD

Vitoria-Gasteiz

Delivery and commissioning of the Irizar BRT models on order has started some time ago. A total of seven articulated e-buses “ie tram 18” and six 12-metre vehicles “ie tram 12” will be used on special lines, which offer fast travel with preference on traffic lights and operating on separated lanes according to the international BRT standard. The first such line (“BEI”) opened on 1 March 2022.

Irizar “ie tram” in Vitoria-Gasteiz | © Budach

Bilbao

At “Bilbobus” – the city bus operator – the first 12-metre electric bus of the Irizar type “ie tram 12” started service in March 2022, equipped with latest generation batteries with 430 kWh capacity. Some Irizar “i2e” and Solaris Urbino 12 electric are already part of the fleet for some time.

In the Greater Bilbao area, Biskaibus (Ezkerraldea) has ordered two Solaris Urbino 12 electric and the Basque Regional Railway Euskotren two Urbino 12 electric and two Urbino 9 LE electric.

Solaris Urbino 12 electric in Bilbao | © Thomas Chaffaut
Irizar “ie tram” for Bilbao | © Irizar e-mobility

San Sebastián (Donostia)

The transport company Dbus will buy 19 new electric buses to be supplied by the end of next year, including 6 articulated buses. Subsidies from the European Next Generation Fund are available. A few e-buses have been part of the fleet for some time. In the medium term, the conversion and upgrading of today’s bus line 17 Gros-Hospitales to BRT standards operating with e-buses is planned.

Valladolid

Public transport operator AUVASA Autobuses Urbanos de Valladolid S.A. aleady has 17 hybrid bus of the former manufacturer Vectia (now part of CAF/Solaris) with opportunity charging facility via pantograph in its fleet. AUVASA announced the procurement of 11 electric articulated vehicles of the Irizar BRT type “ie tram 18” to be delivered by the end of 2022 as part of a larger framework contract of 30 such e-buses. All will be equipped with Irizar’s new battery generation with a capacity of 630 KWh.

These Vectia “Veris 12” of AUVASA Valladolid were among the first hybrid eletric buses for plug-in opportunity charging via pantograph in the country Spain | © Budach

Zaragoza

This model will also go to Zaragoza, where the first vehicles are expected to be delivered shortly. 17 “ie tram 18” articulated e-buses and 51 “ie tram 12” are on order, details here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/zaragoza-buys-68-irizar-electric-buses/ .

Badajoz

Here, in the south-western region of Extramadura near the Portuguese border, 15 BYD solo buses are already in operation, and with the commissioning of 7 MAN Lion’s City E buses on order, well over half of the city’s fleet of 35 buses will soon become emission-free – Badajoz is clearly a forerunner in the country!

15 BYD e-buses already circulate in Badajoz | © UTM/b
Spain’s first Iveco e-way will go to TUSSAM in Seville | © Iveco

Seville

Iveco Bus will deliver five 12-metre E-Way electric buses to Seville’s Urban Transport Company TUSSAM. The E-WAY chosen by TUSSAM will feature a synchronous electric traction motor with a nominal power of 160 kW and NMC Lithium-Ion ZEN batteries with up to 460 kWh capacity, integrated both in the roof and in the rear of the vehicle, for overnight charging at the depot.

More cities to come

Valencia is to get twenty solo electric buses by 2022/3, Málaga ten and Palma de Mallorca five, as well as five fuel cell buses supplied by Solaris.

Electric buses can also be found in some smaller cities (e.g. Pamplona, Irún, Tolosa etc.), as well as with some interurban operators like in and around Alcudia on Mallorca island where 9 Caetano “e.City Gold” operate since 2021. And more operators elsewhere will certainly follow.

Caetano “e.City Gold” serve some interurban lines in Alcudia on Mallorca island since 2021 | © Gobierno Islas Baleares Prensa
Switch Mobility: The new e1 model with NMC 389kWh batteries will be produced in a new factory in Valladolid | © Switch Mobility

A new factory in the country

The fact that the British manufacturer SWITCH will set up an assembly plant for the production of electric buses in Valladolid is certainly also noteworthy. This was announced in spring 2022. The Spanish market will undoubtedly be one of the target addresses for the sale of Switch’s e-buses.

After the share of e-buses in the total of newly registered city buses was only 8.5% and 4% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, the outllook now is much better, not the least thanks to various EU subsidies. E-buses are undoubtedly gaining a foothold in Spain.

27.06.2022
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