Bus No. 109 in Hamburg is a traveling preview of the future. The city’s public transport operator, Hamburger Hochbahn, is using the line that runs from the idyllic Alsterdorf district in the north to Hamburg Central Station to test buses with innovative drive systems in everyday operation. The buses being tested here include hybrid models from Volvo. The buses’ batteries are recharged at the final stops on each end of the 9.3-kilometer route. Each of the charging stations has two masts equipped with a top-down pantograph that recharges the batteries in just six minutes.
The Hamburg fast-charging stations, which were developed by Siemens Mobility, previously could only be used with Volvo buses, which meant other manufacturers that also offer electric buses were left out in the cold, thus limiting the city’s planning possibilities. All of that changed in mid-August 2016, when HPC (high power charger) masts from Siemens with a capacity of 300 kilowatts also began charging three battery-powered buses from Polish bus manufacturer Solaris.