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Public transport in Potsdam: Conversion from diesel to alternatively powered buses

In the project "Electrification Strategy for the Bus Fleet in the City of Potsdam", Reiner Lemoine Institute is investigating, on behalf of the Brandenburg state capital Potsdam, what options the Potsdam Transport Authority (ViP) has for converting its bus fleet from diesel combustion engines to alternative, electric drive systems.

Modern, zero-emission mobility for Potsdam

Potsdam is a rapidly growing city whose public transport system – in addition to the S-Bahn, which connects Potsdam with Berlin – consists largely of streetcars and buses. In order to contribute to climate protection and air quality, the buses are to be converted to emission-free engines in the future. The city has set itself the goal of gradually reducing the 5,000 t of CO2 generated annually by bus traffic to zero. In order to initiate the conversion, RLI is conducting a study together with EMCEL GmbH to develop a basic strategy for the introduction of alternative drive concepts and thus for the decarbonization of the municipal bus fleet.

From demand assessment to optimal concept

The basis for the electrification strategy is an analysis of the current bus operation, in which the regular service is recorded and various charging and refueling technologies relevant for implementation in Potsdam are derived and evaluated. For this purpose, RLI analyzes and reviews the individual bus routes as well as which charging options are feasible for the electrified bus fleet and to what extent additional drive technologies need to be used. In addition, the economic and logistical costs will be determined.

Subsequently, RLI will make a recommendation for the transition to alternatively powered buses and propose a procurement strategy.

Study is basis for implementation concept

The study is supported by the project partner, EMCEL GmbH, which contributes its expertise for tenders and procurements of e-vehicles and corresponding infrastructure.

As a result, the state capital of Potsdam will be equipped with a comprehensive strategy for the conversion of the bus fleet from internal combustion engines to alternative drive systems, on the basis of which the city can start directly with the actual implementation.

The project was commissioned by the state capital of Potsdam and receives funding from the RENplus 2014 - 2020 funding program. With RENplus, the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Energy of the State of Brandenburg (MWAE), through the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg (ILB), supports businesses, cities, and municipalities in reducing energy-related CO2 emissions as part of the implementation of the energy strategy of the State of Brandenburg. The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), State of Brandenburg.

Project period: June – November 2021

© Image: Courtesy of Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam

In this project, the RLI implements the following specific tasks:

  • Identification of the framework conditions for the use of buses with alternative drives
  • Analysis of the circulation data of the current bus fleet
  • Creation of a route model for the region, quantification of expected energy consumption
  • Review of intermediate charging options, ranking of eligible stops
  • Review suitability of specific charging infrastructure for locations
  • Review of other drive technologies and analysis of potential hydrogen refueling infrastructure
  • Energy assessment of depots, preparation of a charging strategy, estimation of structural adjustments
  • Development of a procurement strategy for suitable vehicles
  • Economic consideration and comparative calculation

Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam
Landeshauptstadt Potsdam

Funded by:


MWAE Brandenburg



Norman Pieniak

Unit Head

Jakob Gemassmer