Q-link is the BRT bus network from the region to major destinations in the City of Groningen. Based on the principle of ‘opportunity charging’, the buses are charged during service, along the line. This boosts the buses’ range sufficiently to enable them to provide service on the long Q-link lines. At night the buses are fully charged at Qbuzz’s depot. VDL not only supplies the buses but is also responsible for the complete system and provides installation of the charging stations as well. The process of testing the system in full and training the drivers was completed in November and the buses have carried out successful test drives. The buses were produced at the factory in Heerenveen and a nice touch is that they will now be deployed close to home.
Sustainable bus transport
The 10 articulated VDL Citea Electrics for Groningen are an important step towards making bus transport in Groningen sustainable. The arrival of the electric buses is in line with OV-bureau Groningen Drenthe’s objective that all buses in the city will be completely electric by 2020. Fully electric bus transport will contribute to Groningen’s target of being energy-neutral by 2035. From 2030, public transport throughout the Netherlands will no longer be allowed to emit harmful substances.
Qbuzz concession director Astrid Veldhuizen regards the purchase of the 100% electric buses as a fantastic step for travellers, drivers and the environment alike. “Needless to say, we believe it is important to become more and more sustainable. So we are very happy that, in conjunction with OV- bureau, we are able to take concrete steps.” Astrid is also very pleased with the implementation of the system. “Thanks to a thorough preparation by Qbuzz and intensive collaboration with VDL Bus & Coach, the charging infrastructure has been successfully implemented and the timetable introduced without problems. We are very curious to hear travellers’ reactions. Our drivers are already very enthusiastic about the new buses. They drive really well and are very quiet.”
Ard Romers, Director of VDL Bus & Coach Nederland, told us: “At VDL Bus & Coach we are at the forefront in the transition to efficient zero emission public transport systems. Many of our customers opt for one-stop shopping. So not only the bus, but also implementation, maintenance and delivery of charging infrastructure and energy are provided by us. By doing this VDL Bus & Coach is contributing actively to a cleaner environment, lower energy consumption and a quieter and healthier living environment.”
VDL Citea SLFA Electric
The modular construction of the Citea range means that there are many electric variants with customised solutions in the fields of design, powertrains and battery packs. The VDL Citea SLFA Electrics for Qbuzz that have been supplied are 18.1 metres in length and have an updated, futuristic BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) design. This design won the 2017 Red Dot Award. The Red Dot Award is a prestigious international design prize. The VDL Citea Electric won the award in the category ‘product design’.
Qbuzz was established in April 2008. Qbuzz is an ambitious and innovative quality driven company in the Dutch regional mobility market. Qbuzz has recently won two concessions by offering high-quality public transport. Qbuzz transports approximately 230,000 customers daily with 2,400 employees, 650 buses and 26 trams.