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Esslingen [DE] - Jubilee in Esslingen and Conference on Electro-Mobility

J. Lehmann - 25.06.12

To celebrate 100 years of public transport, Esslingen held a conference about electric urban transport on 20th and 21st June 2012, followed by two open days at the depot and at Esslingen market place on 23rd and 24th June. During the 100 years there was a tram service for 32 years and the trolleybus service has operated for 68 years on the main route 1, which more recently has been number 101, between Oberesslingen and Obertürkheim (today a borough of Stuttgart).
About 100 participants attended the congress, which took place under the patronage of the Transport Minister, Winfried Hermann. Representatives of manufacturers, operators, the worlds of research and politics as well as groupings offered new developments, ways to and opportunities for electric bus transport. Mickaél Pandion, the work leader of the Esslingen municipal transport operator, presented a cost comparison between battery- , hybrid- , and trolleybuses. The trolleybus is only 2% more expensive in operating costs, while the hybrid bus is 25% more expensive to operate. No accurate figures are yet available for battery buses because there is no series production yet.
The infrastucture costs for diesel buses in Esslingen are 0.14 Euro/km, while for the trolleybus these are 0.46 Euro/km including overhead mainainance. Optimising both staff costs and depreciation charges would reduce this to 0.26 Euro/km, thus only 0.10 Euro/km more than the diesel bus.
There were further presentations about the strategies of Esslingen and the land of Baden-Württemberg. Christian Soffel, project engineer of Verkehrs-Consult Dresden-Berlin, presented Dresden‘s "Trolley Plus“ as a way forward. Unlike the earlier Esslingen DUO-busses, a vehicle from the "Trolley Plus“ project would posses a high power energy store. This energy store would be charged by recovery of the braking energy, while recharging would also be possible during journeys under the overhead. In this way overhead would only be required on parts of any route extensions. The operation of routes 113 and 118 were cited as a model, and the district of Berkheim should be served from Zollberg without any overhead, using the battery store. Partial electrification of other routes would then come under consideration, for example trolleybuses on route 109, which has a 15 minute frequency, would only need a single track overhead in the uphill direction. Operation on the level would be from the energy store, which would be recharged in the downhill direction because of the frequent braking.
International experience from Switzerland, Rosta Rica and the Czech Republic was also presented. Arno Kerkhof, Senior Manager from UITP, drew up a balance sheet of world wide experience in trolleybus operation. Professor Ernst Pucher from the Institute of Vehicle Propulsion and Automotive Engineering at the Technical Universty of Vienna presented the "Primove Road" project, which uses power induction. A field trial with buses was being run in Mannheim by Bombardier, so these were absent from the conference.
The presentation from André Eichhorn, Area Sales Manager of Kummler + Matter AG, Zürich on the “Integration of Infrastructure into the Townscape“ covered the regrettable general opposition to the installation of overhead wiring. In contrast Dr. Messerschmidt of DIaLOGIKa GmbH presented his project study on rewiring in motion using a computer programme.

During the congress 14 buses from 12 manufacturers were exhibited. The juxtaposition enabled a comparison of systems. The exhibits comprised hybrid buses from Daimler-Benz/ Evobus, MAN, Irisbus, Volvo and Hess and trolleybuses from Solaris, Van Hool and Hess as well as pure battery buses from Contrac, Rampini und SOR.
At the weekend historic vehicles were displayed at the Market Place, exclusively diesel buses except for Esslingen DUO-bus 327. Newer vehicles could be seen at the SVE grounds. Unfortunately HESS trolleybus 101 from Winterthur had to start its homeward journey on Saturday morning. Test runs could only be done with the Solaris MetroStyle trolleybus from Salzburg. This aroused a lot of interest and the five journeys were well patronised. The VanHool EquiCity trolleybus could not undertake test journeys with passengers because it had not yet received its official acceptance.
A 30 minute shuttle service between the two exhibitions was offered by a new Citaro diesel bus, hardly appropriate given the overall theme of the conference.
In addition to societies such as the Obus-Museum Solingen, component manufacturers like ZF, Voith, Vossloh-Kiepe und Cegelec well as GA Energieanlagen gave information about their product range and the latest developments in technology.
Translation: Martin Wright

A direct comparison could be made at the depot between the two tram-like trolleybuses, but only the Solaris could make well patronised excursions onto the Esslingen system. On its journey out it is seen next to a ten year old VanHool 213 and the Mercedes-Benz hybrid bus from Stuttgart. Photographer: Jürgen Lehmann

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