CORDIS - EU research results

reduce - recycle - reuse eMobility - retrofitting-kits for busses

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EU-elabus4.0 (reduce - recycle - reuseeMobility - retrofitting-kits for busses)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-08-31

We are a consortium that has developed a process for retrofitting and refurbishing deprecated diesel-driven busses with electric-powered drive systems at the end of their service life. After 7-9 years diesel engines of busses are usually worn out, but the body structures are generally still in a very good condition and provide a high potential for being refurbished and retrofitted with electric powered drive systems. The successful operation of a first retrofitted demo-bus in public transport has generated considerable interest in the bus operator’s community and thus presumes a great commercial potential. Therefore, we decided to scale-up our retrofit approach by establishing a serial production line to achieve a cost-efficient way of retrofitting and to enter the market of e-busses thus stimulating greener and sustainable mobility.
Objective of phase 1 was to verify the technical and the economic feasibility of the business idea, to find suitable partners and commit them to the project, to outline the overall concept of the serial retrofitting production line and to elaborate the draft work plan for the phase 2 project.
Within the phase 1 of the project we arranged three joint meetings with the envisaged project participants. In the result we determined all phase 2 project partners as well as 3rd party participants of the consortium (project manager and coordinator, technical providers for the retrofitting process covering the whole value chain, end users such as two bus operators/ public transport companies). We also established the technical and financial outline of the whole project including the definition of all necessary tasks, resources and technical requirements as well as all involved costs (personal costs, material costs, development / adaptation costs, investment costs, sales revenues, cost distribution among project partners, long-term financing planning / liquidity planning). We refined our marketing strategy, adjusted our approach to new challenges revealed by the feasibility study and elaborated an advanced commercialization concept for Phase 2.
Main questions to be answered during our phase 1 project activities:
o Is our project realisable and marketable?
o What are the innovative elements in this project?
o Witch challenges and risks has this project?
o Witch resources do we need for this project?
o Witch and how many partners or subcontractors are necessary?
o Who are the stakeholders, how big is the market, how profitable the expected business?
o What are the individual tasks, milestones and the ultimate objectives?

The main results for SME-INST IT, phase 1 were:
• We established the technical and economic feasibility of the project;
• We expanded our consortium towards an integrated and interconnected European cluster of partners along the entire value chain and corresponding bus life cycle phases;
• We defined the general procedure for retrofitting/service solutions (workflows) including the requirements for an appropriate ERP/PLM-software structure and we integrated the corresponding development activities in related Work Packages;
• We worked out a complete calculation for the development activities during the phase 2 project;
• We realised a first retrofitted double-decker bus in Berlin;
• We elaborated a detailed market analysis for e-busses in public transportation;
• We established an extended strategy for project implementation and commercialisation.

We started with a little consortium in phase 1 with SCARABÆUS from Germany, SAV studio from Poland and ViriCiti from the Netherlands. But i.e. ZIEHL ABEGG and Continental attended our projects since more than one year. That’s why it wasn’t a question that the consortium would grow for phase 2. On the one hand we want demonstrate the value added chain and on the other hand (and this is the main aspect) we know exactly that we have only a chance as a good networking project. To practise, to demonstrate and to validate all the processes we need exemplary partners in the project. This is the background why we are so many partners in the consortium.

All the coordination and the management of the tasks, progress monitoring and so on was performed by the leader of the consortium, the SCARABÆUS AG.
During the 3 months of the project all the partners and the subcontractors met three times for consortium meetings in Berlin. For these meetings we had a common schedule and the overall goal was to verify the feasibility of the project and to write the phase 2 proposal for submission in September 2015.
The expected final result of the entire project is to establish a serial production line for the cost-efficient retrofitting of disused diesel busses into electric-powered busses at the end of their engine service life and to successfully enter the market of e-busses, thus establishing a prosperous sustainable business and stimulating greener and sustainable mobility.
Based on the targets for carbon reduction the whole sector of public road transport is not only interested in low-emission solutions, but they must switch to eMobility in the future (see above example of Paris and London!). Sustainable and suitable for broad application are electro-powered busses, but up until now electrical busses at reasonable prices are not available. Existing individual solutions are by far too expensive for most public transport companies. Our retrofit-kit costs are between 300 and 500 T€ and have a operating distances of up to 250km. Refurbished electrical busses are not only much cheaper than new ones, they are also sustainable products. Per year costs savings between 60.000 € and 80.000 € per bus are achieved for operation (electrical energy is cheaper than diesel and energy can be recuperated during braking of the bus) and maintenance (no diesel engine, gear, exhaust etc. and the electrical drive is nearly without service). So they are much more economic than diesel-driven busses.
The initial costs for setting up a production line for a new bus and the certification procedure are very high, especially if it includes a new technology! That is why we believe to have an advantage by refurbishing the old busses. The bus operators know their busses very well, and have confidence in them, because chassis and body are usually still in good condition. We “only” change the drive system, refurbish the bodies and some components get upgraded and thereby giving them a second service life. Ultimately the implementation of the serial retrofitting system will not only contribute to a greener public transportation system by saving resources, reducing CO2 emissions and environmental impacts, the technical advancement of the innovation also takes the current industry 2.0 and 3.0 generation of busses to the new industry 4.0 era.
The target users are bus operators in public transport systems all over Europe and worldwide. The fact that we have two customers for our product in our consortium shows that our idea and our product has a very high economic market potential.
The retrofitting of the old diesel busses involve quite a number of different service and component providers and imply a big technical as well as personal effort. Considering the total number of diesel busses in Europe suitable for retrofitting a big market for the envisaged business idea can be expected. Therefore the implementation of the project has great potential to create new jobs and to lead to the growth of the involved companies, but also for bus operators and suppliers that will be using the retrofitt-kit and strategy in the future.
Project meeting July 2015 in Berlin
Project meeting June 2015 in Berlin
Bus yard in Dresden