In recent years, in parallel with the introduction of compressed gas buses, AS Tallinna Linnatransport (TLT) has also tested electric buses in order to transfer all public transport in the capital to emission-free technologies by 2035 at the latest. The first electric buses will be able to serve the passengers of the capital by the summer of 2023 with the support of the Environmental Investment Center and co-financing from the city of Tallinn.
“The Environmental Investment Center (EIC) supports the acquisition of 15 electric city buses of Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS and the creation of public charging infrastructure with 2.6 million euros, to which the city will add 6 million euros,” said Deniss Boroditš, Chairman of the Management Board of TLT.
He emphasized that the procurement of electric buses acquired with the support of investments is based on the operation of electric vehicles tested in Tallinn so far and that the buses meet the requirements caused by seasonality.
TLT has tested four electric buses in normal traffic – Merzedes-Benz eCitaro, Solaris Urbino, Yutong U12, as well as MAN’s 12-meter electric buses. The tests confirmed the progress in terms of both the comfort of the buses and the battery technologies and their capacities. The tested buses were able to cover 150-425 kilometers with one charging, so in one way or another, all the tested buses seem suitable for use in Tallinn.
“In recent years, electric vehicles have developed impressively, and this has also had a positive effect on the capacity of electric buses, extended battery life and service life, and the use of better technical solutions on buses,” said the chairman of the TLT board.
Boroditš explained that for the capital’s public transport service provider, electric buses are made attractive by the fact that compared to fossil fuel vehicles, they are 3-4 times lower in price per kilometer, as the cost of fuel is about 3-4 times lower, and electric buses are also almost soundless, significantly reducing noise pollution in the city as well as air pollution.
If it is first planned to bring 15 electric buses to the line by the summer of 2023 at the latest, TLT has also initiated a cooperation project with Eesti Energia, with which it is in the application round of EU Innovation projects, to operate a larger number of electric buses and create the necessary infrastructure.
In Europe, the transition to electric buses has intensified in recent years. The process is influenced by both climate policy considerations and the increasingly more affordable prices of electric vehicles, which have begun to approach the cost of similar diesel and gas buses, which are currently twice as expensive.
“European electricity innovation is characterized by the fact that 75% of the 5087 electric buses introduced in Europe in 2012-2020 have reached the streets in the last two years,” Boroditš pointed out.
He expressed hope that considering the volumes of public transport in Europe, the use of electric buses so far is modest, but by the middle of the next decade, when Tallinn plans to switch completely to electric buses, the situation will be completely different in Europe and electric buses will be prevalent everywhere.