Efficient monitoring and control of electric buses

Rheinbahn and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein implement the switch together with INIT

Given the high volatility of the ranges of battery-operated vehicles, it is essential that the state of charge of all buses in use be monitored continuously in the control centre and - depending on the charging concept – recharged on the route. (images: VHH/Wolfgang Köhler) 

Karlsruhe, July 15th, 2019

Rheinbahn AG, Düsseldorf, and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) are leading the way: they are among the pioneers in public transport when it comes to switching to electromobility – and relying on the support of INIT, the world’s leading provider of integrated IT solutions for public transport. Since both transport companies already use INIT’s Intermodal Transport Control System, MOBILE-ITCS, to operate their bus fleets, they decided to collaborate with the Karlsruhe-based specialists in a joint project aimed at making the change to e-mobility and implementing the ITCS control system.

In doing so, they are taking an active approach towards addressing the challenges associated with the introduction of electromobility. As they transition away from conventional internal combustion engine buses and towards electric drives, the requirements placed both on operational processes and on information systems will also change. Especially given the high volatility of the ranges of battery-operated vehicles, it is essential that the state of charge of all buses in use be monitored continuously in the control centre. 

Electric bus monitoring in the ITCS

That is precisely what INIT’s MOBILE-ITCS system enables. Dispatchers see a quick and comprehensive overview of all vehicles’ state of charge as well as their remaining range in kilometres. In case of necessary dispatching measures, the system also notifies dispatchers if the vehicle’s remaining range is sufficient. That means, going forward, VHH and Rheinbahn will be able to monitor and control all vehicle types in one central system.

Vehicle range prediction application

Within the vehicle, INIT’s on-board computers ensure that the relevant electromobility data are also available to the driver. Rheinbahn uses the COPILOTpc, INIT’s IT and communication platform, while VHH uses the PC-based ticket printer and on-board computer, EVENDpc. In a further stage of expansion, it will also be possible to use INIT’s newly developed vehicle range prediction application, MOBILErange. This application uses historical operating data as well as current data such as vehicle data, driver data, the topology of a specific route or weather data and combines them with state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to generate a vehicle battery consumption model. This both facilitates the planning of electric vehicle use for public transport and optimises their management during operation. 

INIT’s eMOBILE-ITCS enables us to monitor and control all vehicle types in one central system. Our dispatchers receive a quick and comprehensive overview of the current state of charge and the remaining range of e-buses. This simplifies their work.

Reinhard Renja

Project Manager for the introduction of ITCS and TETRA digital radio, Rheinbahn AG

Already in full swing: the implementation phase

The route towards electromobility has already been clearly defined for both transport companies. VHH has set itself particularly ambitious goals. From 2020 onwards, VHH will only procure electric buses, at least for the Hamburg area. In Hamburg, the switch to electromobility is determined to be complete by 2030. To make that a reality, work is currently going on at full speed to provide the indispensable new infrastructure. This includes, among other things, new depots and the charging infrastructure as well as training for drivers. Rheinbahn is also getting its vehicle fleet ready for a clean future. The two electric buses already in the fleet will be joined by another ten electric buses by the end of 2019 or early 2020. The buses will run on two inner-city routes and be charged overnight in the depot. In addition to the purchase of the vehicles, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is also subsidising the charging infrastructure required for operation and the special depot equipment for the electric buses. Both transport companies are also supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Cooperation with INIT ensures that everything runs smoothly, especially in the control centre, right from the start.

An overall electromobility solution

“With eMOBILE, our integrated overall solution to satisfy electromobility requirements, we are making a significant contribution to ensuring that public transport companies can introduce electromobility safely, reliably and efficiently,” says Dr Jürgen Greschner, INIT’s Chief Sales Officer. “This is our contribution to shaping the future of transport.”


Andrea Mohr-Braun

Head of Department Corporate Marketing
init SE
Phone: +49 721 6100 113
Fax: +49 721 6100 399