Schiphol’s switch to alternatively powered vehicles boosted by new fleet of electric passenger buses
(photo: Schiphol Group)
Fri 26 Jun 2015 – Schiphol Airport has started operating 35 electric buses to transport passengers between aircraft and gate, with each bus having its own solar-panelled charging point, so making the airport the biggest charging station for electric buses in Europe. The buses, three of which entered service in 2014, are part of the SUBSS (Sustainable Bus System of Schiphol) project and will replace an ageing fleet of conventionally powered vehicles. They were designed especially for and in collaboration with the airport and supplied by Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD, whose European headquarters are in nearby Rotterdam. Schiphol is focusing on stimulating clean transport both airside and in passenger travel to and from the airport, and now boasts the largest fleet of electrically powered taxis of any airport in the world.
Currently, around 20% of passengers are transferred between the aircraft and terminal by bus. The new buses are shorter and narrower than the buses they replace, which should provide a better fit for Schiphol’s airside infrastructure, but still allow for spacious seating and additional baggage space, while also having a smaller battery that is tailored for the required action radius. The BYD proprietary environmentally-friendly iron-phosphate battery contains materials that can be recycled or safely disposed of at end of life.
According to BYD, the fossil-fuel powered engines on the buses being replaced have suffered wear and tear because they rarely reached optimal operating temperatures on the short journeys, which resulted in high maintenance costs and poor emissions performance. At 14 metres long – 2 metres longer than the new e-buses – the old buses proved too big and wide for the infrastructure and resulted in regular accidental damage.
Since last October, passengers travelling to and from Schiphol have been able to opt for electrically powered taxis. Two taxi companies, BBF Schipholtaxi and BIOS-groep, are now operating a fleet of 167 Tesla Model S taxis. The zero-emission taxis will operate at the airport for a period of at least four years, with an optional extension of up to eight years.
Schiphol recently received the Airports Going Green Award at a green airports conference in Chicago organised by the Chicago Department of Aviation. It was praised for “the incredible sustainability achievements and innovations at Schiphol and in particular the contributions to the aviation industry” and was called a source of inspiration for sustainability initiatives at airports in the United States.
“Schiphol aims to be one of the most sustainable airports in the world. In everything we do we try to be cleaner, smarter, more economical and more social,” said Jos Nijhuis, Schiphol Group CEO.