At the end of 2014, the Municipality of Arnhem launched ‘Trolley 2.0’ – a pilot programme in which trolley buses would drive without overhead wires and instead on battery packs, which are recharged at intervals with electricity from the existing overhead lines. By 2017, at least two and potentially up to 12 buses will be operating in the Arnhem bus system without catenary driving. The new trolley buses will drive a portion of the route under the wire and will then drive a route off the wire, after which the bus will return to the overhead wire to recharge.
Fully electric bus network
Initially, the 18 metre articulated trolley buses will be deployed. The goal is to eventually also deploy the 24 metre double articulated trolley buses. The ultimate goal is to introduce a fully electric bus network in Arnhem. Arnhem, with its network of 60 kilometres, construction of which began back in 1949, has the largest trolley network in Northwest Europe.
Advantages of Trolley 2.0
- No emission of air pollutants
- Climate neutral
- Reliable, comfortable and with sufficient capacity
- Flexible, since the buses can drive off the network of electric lines
Cities which already have tram infrastructure can quite easily customise the subsurface infrastructure to allow buses to drive partly free. Most costs are incurred by the construction of the subsurface infrastructure. The trolley buses are flexible and ten times cheaper than what would be required to construct a tram network.
Several cities, both national and international, are interested in the new technology. In January 2014, an international congress was held in Arnhem and was well attended by delegates from other Western European countries. Arnhem is now working together with foreign partners in a joint project to introduce ‘Trolley 2.0’ elsewhere.