VDV Electric Bus Conference and Exhibition 2023 with record numbers
In his opening speech to the 1,200 official participants at the fully booked 14th “VDV Electric Bus Conference and Exhibition” and the newly added “Future Congress on Autonomous Driving”, VDV Vice President Werner Overkamp said: "These are record figures that were considered impossible just a few years ago. Well over a thousand interested parties have come to Berlin, no less than 78 exhibitors are represented - and more are still on the waiting lists. This is proof that manufacturers and transport companies are now putting into practice what until a few years ago was still a bold illusion in order to achieve climate protection goals: we can make the 2020s the decade of the e-bus if politicians continue to support us in this transformation.
Newly integrated into the conference and trade fair format of the VDV and the Forum für Verkehr und Logistik e.V. is the topic of autonomous driving, which will be addressed simultaneously with its own future congress. Werner Overkamp: "We want to prove that it is wrong to say, 'Autonomous driving is always in three years time'. We have the legal basis in Germany, we have the know-how together with the manufacturers and above all: we have the will to introduce this technology as another game-changing innovation!" According to the VDV, public transport is asserting its strategic position and partnership for the industry and its innovative power. In addition to concepts and issues to be discussed, the Future Congress will also present a vehicle of its own that can drive autonomously. Autonomous driving is to be thought of from the municipalities and the transport companies.
Innovations at the exhibition
The two-day VDV Electric Bus Conference features a varied programme and presentations on current topics: Battery electric, hydrogen, charging and storage concepts. The industry standard for e-bus sound, which was presented as a world premiere last year, is currently being implemented by the manufacturers and adapted to the individual sound systems: Exhibitors at the trade fair are demonstrating the sound on their vehicles and working on its implementation in series production. Last year, the VDV held a sound competition with students and had the winning composition produced by sound engineers. In addition to the important safety aspect, the industry association sees this as a great branding and marketing opportunity for the entire industry. A uniform, recognisable and positive sound for the new e-buses in Germany. "I am looking forward to numerous innovations, such as lightweight buses with batteries integrated in the chassis, depot, charging and personnel management software. We will see innovative operator concepts for on-demand and autonomous driving and state-of-the-art fire protection concepts for bus depots. It will become clear that e-buses do not pose a higher fire risk than conventional diesel buses", says Overkamp.
Expansion and modernisation pact
As a result of the pandemic and the Ukrainian war, the industry has lost important time - which is why the demand for a decisive and ambitious transport policy is growing: With regard to the expansion and modernisation pact that has yet to be written into the coalition agreement, the VDV is urging that, despite all the anticipation of the “Deutschlandticket”, the focus in future should be more on the supply side: "We want to and will successfully introduce the Deutschlandticket throughout Germany. That will be a great sales success. But our quality objectives also include adapting the existing system to the increased demand and ensuring that the quality of transport remains good from the passenger's point of view," concludes Overkamp.
Images: FVL/Markus Bollen