Move on public transport in Madrid is becoming increasingly sustainable. The City Council has announced that it will allocate 64 million euro to buy 200 new buses for the EMT (Municipal Transport Company) next year 2016. Of those 200 vehicles, 170 will run on gas. With this new purchase, buses that use cleaner technologies shall be 75% of the total.
Madrid City Council is allocating 64.6 million in an “additional budgetary effort” for the purchase in 2016 of 200 new buses of the Empresa Municipal de Transporte (EMT), (Municipal Transport Company ,EMT) but regrets it is “the first time in the 30 years of the Consortium that the Community of Madrid does not face the investment in buses.” The more than 64 million euro will be financed in the frame of the Financially Sustainable Investments.
Out of the 200 new buses, by 2016 170 will circulate on gas. The figure means that 85% of purchased buses will use gas, showing that using this fuel for public transport is a real alternative that is enabling to improve air quality in Madrid and other cities that also use it.
130 standard buses (12 meters long) will be acquired, amounting to 38.35 million euro, 40 articulated buses (18 meters), amounting to 15.6 million euro and 30 hybrid buses (electric system with gas or diesel fuel) worth 10.65 million euro. They will make “a total of 200 new vehicles for EMT´s aging fleet,” claims the City Council.
Electrical technology, insufficient
EMT sources explain to EnergyNews that “the choice of gas buses against the electric ones is based on the reason that the latter are not sufficiently developed to a level that manufacturers offer the ability and autonomy required for the EMT fleet. In fact, most products are small-scale or even prototypes. They are not prepared for a city where our buses work on average 14 hours a day and travel 300 kilometers, not to mention the traffic, collecting passengers, traffic lights, etc. “.
With this decision, the EMT increases its gas bus fleet from 43% to 50%. In addition, it plans to invest 225,000 euro for alignment to multi-system (dual fuel) for simultaneous gas supply in 15 buses, and expand the points of vehicle gas refueling in Carabanchel and Entrevías.
In the Madrid public transport network, gas is already present since 1994, when the first bus powered by such fuel was incorporated. Since then the fleet has increased to nearly five hundred units, to which must be added the 200 to be introduced next year.
“The problems of electric buses are two, on the one hand the autonomy and batteries, which are very large and very heavy, in fact they increase by 2-ton the total vehicle weight, and secondly, the charging time, and infrastructure necessary for it. From the EMT we have tested prototypes of Chinese, European and Spanish manufacturers, as the Irizar o Fotón brands, which is a Spanish-Chinese company, but the industry is not ready yet, ” explains the EMT.
Gas in transport
Using gas for vehicles reduces by more than 80% the emissions of nitrogen oxides and almost 100% particulate matter, main pollutants that affect human health. In addition, natural gas engines produce up to 50% less noise emission than diesel engines.
In recent years the number of gas buses has greatly increased in major Spanish cities. Cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Burgos have a wide network of public transport that uses gas as fuel.
At present, the number of buses of EMT amounts to 1,900 of which 740 run on natural gas (42%), with 170 to be purchased in 2016, the amount rises to 900, which means almost 50 % of the total. Hybrids amount to 23 and plans are to buy 30 additional, representing 53 vehicles, and there are 20 pure electric minibuses. Finally, 80% of diesel buses are catalyzed to euro4 and euro5 levels (470), “so that we could ensure that 78% of our fleet is green,” claims the EMT.