In just one and a half years, the number of kilometres driven by electric VDL Citeas in Europe has doubled. Whereas in February last year the counter stood at 100 million, this month the 200 million electric kilometres mark was passed. “A milestone of which we are very proud,” says Paul van Vuuren, CEO of VDL Bus & Coach.
In the past decade, following the introduction of the first Citea SLF-120 Electric in 2013, VDL Bus & Coach has gained a leading position in the European market for electric public transport. In February 2020, the 50 million electric kilometres mark was celebrated, in mid-September 2020 the counter stood at 75 million, followed by 100 million in February 2021. At present, the 1,300 electric VDL Citeas cover more than 240,000 kilometres every day in 11 European countries and 77 cities and regions. The 200 million kilometres travelled on electric lines represent a saving of almost 28 million kilos of CO2 emissions.
Leading the way in Europe
“Over a period of ten years, in the further development of our VDL Citeas, we have always succeeded in finding solutions for the requirements, needs and wishes of the European market,” explains Paul van Vuuren, CEO of VDL Bus & Coach. VDL is demonstrating this again with the introduction of the new generation Citea.
“We have developed a versatile mobility platform that meets the sustainability ambitions of our customers. In this way, we remain at the forefront of the public transport market, where our experience makes us a leader in Europe. The trend in the market for fast-growing electric public transport has continued – even during the coronavirus crisis – which is visible through a decrease in demand for diesel vehicles. We have proven to be a strong, reliable and experienced partner over the past decade, which is why contracting authorities and public transport companies continue to invest in our electric buses. We are very proud of that. We will continue to work on continuous improvements in order to build on this status in the future.”
Netherlands in the vanguard
The Netherlands has the most electric VDL vehicles and therefore also covers the most electric kilometres: almost 165 million. Approximately 650 electric buses are operational in 35 cities. As a result, the electric Citeas have become an essential part of the current street scene throughout the Netherlands. They operate in, among others, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Maastricht and Eindhoven. VDL also plays an important role in the electrification of an increasing number of concession areas, with deployment in smaller cities and regional transport.
The Netherlands is a pioneer in the electrification of public transport. This was initiated by the Zero Emission Bus Administrative Agreement, as signed by the joint concessionaires in March 2016. Inspired by the Paris Climate Accord, this administrative agreement stipulates that all new buses entering into public transport in the Netherlands must be emission-free by 2025 at the latest.
Germany on the rise
When it comes to the number of electric kilometres driven, VDL Bus & Coach is making rapid progress in Germany. In February 2021, 88 buses in 6 cities together covered 4.5 million electric kilometres. In the summer of 2022, those numbers are set to rise sharply: more than 12 million kilometres will have been covered by 358 electric Citeas operating in 15 cities.
Scandinavia also remains one of the most important markets for VDL Bus & Coach. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, 250 VDL Citeas have covered around 25 million electric kilometres. Alex de Jong, Business Manager Public Transport VDL Bus & Coach: “For the future, we are also expressly looking at the large growth markets in Europe. For VDL Bus & Coach, this mainly concerns France and Italy, where we have already booked our first successes in the field of public transport orders. Our goal is to build up a stable market position in these countries.”
New generation VDL Citea
In 2021, VDL Bus & Coach presented the new generation of electric Citeas. From the VDL vision and based on experience with the current VDL Citea fleet, a bus concept has been developed that is entirely based on an electric drive train, ready for the future and in which zero emission is a given. Batteries in the floor, a one-piece composite side wall, clever energy management, a sophisticated climate control system and an ergonomic driver’s environment. With these five important innovations, VDL Bus & Coach introduces the new generation Citea product range, consisting of four length variants and five types. The range of the new generation of Citeas has been considerably improved.
In June, VDL Bus & Coach won the EBUS Award for the new generation Citea. This important German environmental prize for the public transport industry is awarded every two years to companies that make a substantial contribution to the development of electric public transport in Germany. VDL was victorious for the second time in a row, having previously wone the prize in 2019. In 2021, the ceremony was cancelled due to coronavirus.
For the design of the new Citea generation, VDL Bus & Coach already received two important awards this spring: a Red Dot Award and the iF Design Award. The attractive design should convince even more people to choose public transport. The new generation of Citeas has already been sold in several countries and will be deployed in a number of cities and areas starting this year: The Netherlands (Amsterdam and Eindhoven), Finland (Kotka and Lahti), Belgium (all of Flanders), Germany (Oberhausen and Braunschweig) and France (Bordeaux).