Berlin E-double-decker: technology leap into the 21st century

Tourists from all over the world explore the German capital on special double-decker buses covering all the landmarks including Brandenburg Gate, Kurfürstendamm, Alexanderplatz, Schloss Bellevue. What hardly anyone knows: Before becoming second career sightseeing platforms, the buses were on the road for many years serving Berlin’s transport service (BVG). Their technology is equally old including their diesel engines.

Locally emission-free and almost noiseless

Now, three companies, IAV, Tassima and Ziehl-Abegg, want to bring the legendary double-decker to the technical state of the 21st century. Together, they will develop an environmentally friendly electric drive for the vehicles that will make them locally emission-free and virtually noiseless. By 2019, the first double-decker buses will be electrified and in operation.

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The contracting entity is Tassima AG, whose shareholders specialize in the tourist use of buses and the conversion of diesel-powered vehicles to electric drive. The electric drive axle comes from Ziehl-Abegg, a leading international company in the field of air, control and drive technology. The Berlin-based engineering specialist IAV delivers the sub-sets to Tassima and takes on the role of system integrator.

The conversion kit for diesel-powered vehicles is a “plug & play” solution that has been adapted to the special requirements of E-double-decker buses. The e-motors and the power electronics are integrated into the wheel hubs, resulting in a compact design, which is particularly suitable for low-floor buses. The traction battery is designed specifically for this purpose and can be adapted in size according to the range requirement. After the conversion, it is put there, where previously the diesel engine had been.

Suitable for many types of commercial vehicles

“Electrically powered buses are an interesting alternative in inner-city traffic,” says Utz-Jens Beister, Head of Product Business at IAV. “Our motivation is clear: we want to make a noticeable contribution to clean, emission-free mobility in the city.”

“ Double-decker buses with #electric drive: forerunners of sustainable commercial vehicles“

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And this contribution does not need to be limited to E-double-decker buses for tourists in Berlin: The conversion kit can also be adapted to the requirements of buses, lorries in local and delivery traffic as well as municipal and refuse vehicles. Nothing can hold us back from taking the leap into the 21st century – in Berlin and other cities.