The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL), a joint local authority which manages the public transport systems in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Kerava, Kirkkonummi and Sipoo, has formed an acquisition agreement with Finnish electric bus manufacturer Linkker for the acquisition of electric buses. The first stage of this €5-6 million acquisition agreement will see HSL add 12 electric buses to its fleet. This acquisition marks a shift in HSL’s strategy, departing from the established model of contracting independent bus companies to provide the vehicles used in its fleet to a model in which HSL itself owns the buses.

While the buses will still be operated by independent bus operators contracted by the HSL, this acquisition is a strong sign of HSL’s commitment to its sustainability goals, aiming to increase the number of low-emission vehicles in its fleet. This acquisition is the first phase of the HSL’s goal to realize a 2025 vision of public transport in which its fleet includes 400 electric buses, 200-300 hybrid buses, and some 400 diesel buses.

This acquisition also supports a development initiative, ePELI, which aims to establish infrastructures for the integration of new technologies. Additionally, the HSL will also apply for funding support from the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Finland’s innovation agency Tekes to cover an estimated 30% of the expenses.

The buses will be provided a new Finnish electric bus manufacturer Linkker, which was formed as the result of a research program (eBus), partially funded by the Technical Research Center of Finland VTT, which explored the development and application of electric buses.

Reijo Mäkinen of HSL believes the four year electric bus initiative will help to establish the Helsinki region as a front runner in European electric bus implementation.

Source: Kauppalehti article (in Finnish) 

Read more: About Linkker and the HSL’s strategic goals 

           

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