The city had initially bought 56 battery buses. The Federal Environment Ministry added 45 million euros of taxpayers’ money. The then Minister Schulze declared: “Wiesbaden is setting a good example and showing how environmentally friendly and attractive public transport is possible.” For the Lord Mayor, the first buses marked the beginning of the “official battery bus age”. A total of 220 new electric buses were to be procured according to original plans.
In practical terms, the climate miracle – the electric bus – sadly failed to deliver. Again and again buses broke down, they had to be recalled by the manufacturer and the municipal transport company ESWE had to ask for understanding from passengers. And because of the hilly terrain in the capital of the state of Hesse, the electric buses did not even manage half the range of the diesel-powered buses.
A battery charge is said to last only 150 kilometres, and in icy temperatures and with a full bus even up to 100 kilometres less. A diesel-powered public bus travels 300 to 400 kilometres a day – uphill and downhill and also costs up to three times less than an e-bus.
The photovoltaic system installed on the roof of the station has also had to be dismantled “due to update fire-protection regulations”.
In the end, plans for a separate power station at the depot so that the many limping electric buses could be charged, were scrapped and further expensive green transport expenditures are off the table. With the e-buses in disrepair, the power station has become superfluous. For the time being, the transport authority is looking for a cheap place to park all the electric buses that are no longer in use.