Amsterdam airport unveils new 'clean-air' bus fleet


Schiphol (Netherlands) (AFP)

Amsterdam's busy Schiphol airport Wednesday saw the launch of 100 new electric passenger buses, said to be the largest fleet of its kind in Europe, as it pursues clean-air targets.

More than 100,000 passengers will now step daily into battery-powered buses operated by Connexxion, French transport giant Transdev's subsidiary in the Netherlands, Transdev said.

The contract to provide "clean air" transport, connecting Schiphol to cities like Amsterdam and Haarlem, is estimated at some 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion) over the next 15 years.

"We believe the future of mobility will be electric," Transdev's chief executive Thierry Mallet said.

"This project sets the standards for the whole electrical bus" industry, Mallet told AFP at the launch at Schiphol airport.

Although the 18-metre (59-feet) articulated buses can only travel between 80 to 90 kilometres (50 to 56 miles), they are re-boosted by an innovative so-called "fast charge" system at docking stations along the route, taking about 20 minutes to top up on battery power.

"We specifically chose this approach, because we want to transport people and not batteries," Mallet said, referring to other buses which can run up to 250 kilometres on a single charge but are burdened by huge batteries, meaning they can carry fewer people.

By 2021 more than 260 electric buses will be running on roads around Schiphol, covering some 30 million kilometres per year, he added.

Schiphol airport operations director Miriam Hoekstra-van der Deen said the new bus fleet was a "huge step" in the direction of Schiphol's aim to have zero carbon dioxide emissions "on the ground" by 2040.

Millions of travellers who arrive at Schiphol each year "will at once be able to see that we are serious about the environment," she said.

Transdev also has a second contract to provide electric bus transport to the southern city of Eindhoven.