First Smart Electric Bus (BEI) arrives in SmartEnCity’s Lighthouse City Vitoria-Gasteiz31 Jul 2019
People of Vitoria – Gasteiz had the chance to explore the first intelligent electric bus which represents a revolutionary transport system service that from 2020 on will connect 14 city neighbourhoods with 13 leading-edge electric buses.
In the middle of the city center, Mayor Gorka Urtaran, the Councillor of Economic Development and Infrastructure, the General Deputy of the Province and the CEO of the successful tenderer were unveiling the first of its kind.
In the second half of August, the works of the civil infrastructure is starting to prepare the implementation of the BEI. The Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Álava and Vitoria – Gasteiz City Council have collaborated to make this project a reality.
The intelligent e-bus was presented and driving around for the first time up and down the streets of the capital of Álava for several hours, 'picking up' first travellers, media and authorities. Therefore, the most curious citizens already had been able to get on board and learn about the technological innovations.
The implementation of the BEI requires an investment of almost 35 million (excluding VAT) comprising the 13 new electric and avant-garde buses of either 18 or 12 meters length that will serve a route of 10 kilometers and 24 stops in each direction. The European Project SmartEnCity has contributed 375.000 Euros to co-finance the acquisition of the charging infrastructure and vehicles.
The new service will replace the current line 2 (which transported more than 3 million users in 2017), with eight minutes frequencies, exclusive lanes in a large part of the route and will connect key points of the city such as the Basque Government building, the University, the main Hospital of the Province and the Football Stadium.
Although the final configuration, the design of the new buses and other details are still to be defined, the new equipment will have a minimum capacity for 65 people (21 of them seated) in the case of the small ones, while the articulated ones will serve a minimum of 100 people (30 seated). They will also incorporate three spaces for wheelchairs and, the articulated ones, an extra space for trolleys. As for the driver's console, it will provide real-time information about the route, technical data or possible incidents.
In the same way, it will have an automatic guidance system to assist the driver approaching the stop, minimizing the distance between curb and vehicle. The bus shelters, with modern aesthetics, will offer multimedia information updated in real time, ticket holders and card validation machines. The implementation of the Intelligent Electric Bus will also be accompanied by different interventions in the public space.
Two interoperable opportunity loading stations will be installed; the use of pantographs will allow buses to recharge in only 4 minutes. In addition, there will be 7 smart chargers available for overnight slow loading in the garages.
The new buses will run 100% electric with zero emissions, completely silent, combining the great capacity, ease of access and inner circulation of a tram with the flexibility of an urban bus.