Electric buses from Berliner BVG have a cold problem 

Posted: February 12, 2021 by oldbrew in Batteries, News, Temperature, Travel, weather

Image credit: bus-bild.de

An attempt to put some of the blame on a tractor protest by farmers, holding up traffic, sounds a bit weak. A solution adopted by some e-bus builders is to use fuel-powered heating systems, described here as ‘an absolute oxymoron for the electric vehicle industry’.
– – –
By 2030, Berlin wants all local public transport buses to be electric, says the Teller Report.

Passengers and drivers are already experiencing what this can mean in a cold winter.

Apparently one type of vehicle in particular causes problems.

According to information from The “Berliner Morgenpost” newspaper, a dozen of the electric buses operated by the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) are currently out of action.

In the report, which relies on information from corporate circles, there is talk of 23 failures on Monday alone, on the bus routes that are operated electrically.

Instead of electric vehicles, diesel vehicles were driven again.

The problem was the double-digit temperatures in the minus range – and their consequences for the vehicles.

According to the “Morgenpost”, the buses that were charged overnight in the depots “for the most part” did not reach their range and could therefore not be used, as stated in an internal statement from the BVG, from which the newspaper quotes.

BVG spokeswoman Petra Nelken confirmed to the newspaper that a particular type of bus caused problems, namely the twelve-meter-long bus from the manufacturer Solaris.

“According to the contract and specifications, they have to drive 130 kilometers even at minus ten degrees, but not all of them managed that.”

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    They can’t blame the terrain…

    Berlin is located in northeastern Germany in an area of low-lying marshy woodlands with a mainly flat topography.

    – – –
    If only they didn’t have to keep opening the doors 🤔
    = = =
    FEBRUARY 9, 2021
    Snow and bitter cold bring chaos to Germany and Britain

    Northern and eastern Germany were particularly badly hit on Sunday and Monday night, with blizzard-like conditions and some of the coldest temperatures seen in years.


  2. saighdear says:

    Oh don’t worry this low temperature is only once in a lifetime. Move along now ( Wass? kein Bus? ) nothing to see here.
    Oh – and theKnick buses are not working either – can’t get around the corners on the icy surfaces. And as for the electric Trams / Trolleys?- their rail Points frozen as well. Menschens Kinder!

  3. Steve C says:

    “fuel-powered heating systems” … Ah, yes. The school minibus I drove for some years (a retired public-service vehicle) had an Eberspächer diesel-powered heater under the floor, which I remember fondly. In weather like we’ve been having recently, it would make the interior comfortable in the ten minutes it took for me to drive across town to my first pickup, while the engine, in the same time, was barely up to temperature. I’ve been an Eberspächer fan ever since.

  4. Gamecock says:

    ‘Instead of electric vehicles, diesel vehicles were driven again.’

    Ahhh, yes, the ever present backup. Capital still tied up. TWO fleets of buses. Somebody is paying for that extra fleet.

    Remember the old line about the British double-barrel nitro express? “Keeping the continent safe for magazine rifles for over a century.”

    The diesel bus lives on, keeping the city safe for electric buses.

  5. It doesn't add up... says:

    In Russia the trams and trolleybuses managed to keep going through tough winter conditions. The main hazard was icing of the overhead lines in icestorm conditions. Of course they weren’t foolish enough to try to rely on batteries.

    To start a diesel truck it was first necessary to ought a fire under the sump when it was cold, in order to melt the waxed oil and supply some warmth to the engine. It was also common to roast the electrodes of sparking plugs in a gas flame before starting a petrol car.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Solaris is a Polish firm. Their e-buses operate in Warsaw, which is at least as cold (forecast -14C min. tonight) as Berlin in winter, but the trick may be that they can recharge quickly with a roof-pantograph when away from the depot.


    This one’s in Krakow…

  7. ivan says:

    What are they going to do as the weather gets colder – have two sets of buses, one for the summer (electric) and one for the winter (diesel)? Not very economic that and I assume people with electric cars will have to stop going out in winter – oh dear, so sad.

  8. JB says:

    There is a point of cold, not so far distant if we repeat the Maunder cycle, where neither horses, nor electrics, nor diesels will be of much use. I read once that in Siberia they had to keep wooded fires going underneath their trucks in winter to prevent the steel frames from cracking in the low temps. Gee, I wonder what was used to cut the timber….

    With this continuing cooling trend, they can look forward to significantly reduced battery performance, and fewer passengers who are willing to ride in an ice box.

  9. oldbrew says:

    JB says: fewer passengers who are willing to ride in an ice box

    No problem, because there won’t be a driver if the heating’s too weak, so no bus.

  10. Gamecock says:

    You reminded me, It doesn’t add up, my brother told me 60 years ago there are no diesel fire trucks in my state. When it’s real cold, they can’t be relied on to start and run.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    I’m in the Twin Cities. EV’s and buses are considered amusement here, as are the windmills and solar panels.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Challenges for air conditioning and heating (HVAC) solutions in Electric Buses

    Current solutions for HVAC systems dedicated to electric buses are not efficient enough to the point that about 30% of the battery power is utilised for heating and cooling purposes (3). This reduces significantly the vehicle’s mileage range.

    View at Medium.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s