To guarantee a successful shift to electric buses: Software from init makes electromobility safe and efficient

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. (image: VHH/Wolfgang Köhler) 

Karlsruhe, 16 July 2019.

Climate change and measures to mitigate it dominate the social, political and economic agendas. An active effort is also being made to set the right course towards CO2 prevention and electromobility in public transport. Düsseldorf’s Rheinbahn and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) are among the pioneers in Germany. The shift to electric buses places new demands on the planning, operation and depot management of vehicle fleets. This is where init’s integrated solution comes in – it solves problems that arise with the integration of electric buses into the operating systems of public transport companies. Innovative transport companies such as Rheinbahn and VHH are therefore relying on collaboration with the Karlsruhe-based supplier for telematics.

E-mobility calls for new information Systems

The national targets for awarding public contracts for environmentally friendly buses are between 24 and 45 per cent in 2025 and between 33 and 66 per cent in 2030. Half of these targets must be achieved by purchasing zero-emission electric buses. For Germany and Sweden, for example, this means that by 2025 almost a quarter of newly procured public transport buses will be fully electric.

Just as important as the provision of emission-free electric buses is ensuring that stable, regular operation can be established. As the transition is made away from buses using conventional internal combustion engines and towards electric drives, the requirements placed on operational processes and, by extension, on technology-based information systems will also change significantly. From the basic information underlying fundamental decisions to charge management and from range prediction to making adjustments in the existing information systems, all functionalities must be taken into consideration in an integrated solution.  

Both Rheinbahn and VHH already use MOBILE-ITCS, init’s transport control system, to operate their fleets of buses and therefore decided to collaborate with the Karlsruhe-based specialists in a joint project aimed at making the switch to e-mobility and implementing the requisite ITCS control system.

VHH will only procure electric buses for the Hamburg area from 2020 onwards. In Hamburg, the switch to electromobility should 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, training for drivers, extensive digitalisation and, last but not least, smart charge management.

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 / beginning of 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 workshop equipment for the electric buses. Within the scope of the subsidised projects, MOBILE-ITCS must be expanded so that the charge status and electric buses’ remaining range can be monitored on an ongoing basis. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure also support both transport companies. MOBILErange, init’s newly developed software, will also be used for making range predictions.

Charging and cost optimisation

The eMOBILE-PLAN system is ideal not only for simulations but also for planning day-to-day operations including timetables, schedules and duty rosters for the electric buses. The smart charging system monitors both the charging process and charging capacity with respect to charging peaks in order to enable cost-optimised charging. 

“With our software packages, 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. “That is our contribution to shaping the future with innovations for the transformation of transport.”

That was also the motto of this year’s annual conference of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) in Mannheim, where init presented these forward-looking software solutions for e-mobility.



Simone Fritz

Investor Relations
init SE
Tel.: +49-(0)721-6100-115
Fax.: +49-(0)721-6100-130

Email: ir_prefix@initse._suffixcom