EVs in Arnhem powered by electricity from braking buses
Jan Jacob van Dijk, a member of the Gelderland Provincial Executive, and Geert Ritsema, a councillor in Arnhem, are opening a special charging station for electric vehicles at the city’s Schuytgraaf shopping centre. This charging station has been integrated into a mast that forms part of the overhead wire infrastructure for the trolleybus network – a first in Europe. Some of the electricity supplied here is obtained from braking trolleybuses that feed energy back into the grid. The plan is to install more of these charging stations over the next few years.
Four thousand masts
Integrating a charging station into a mast used for trolleybus overhead wires sounds simple enough. After all, the mast is already in place and is already connected to the power grid. Arnhem's trolleybus network comprises around four thousand of these masts, which are often located close to parking spaces, and there are 40 trolleybuses operating on the network.
This plan therefore has huge potential. Arnhem’s local authority welcomes initiatives that allow the trolleybus infrastructure to be used for a wide range of purposes. The masts are already being used for signposting and streetlighting, for example.
Other cities that manage overhead wire networks for trolleybuses or trams, both in the Netherlands and abroad, are keeping a close eye on the trial. There are more than 300 cities with such a network in Europe alone. A number of cities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Swiss cities of Lucerne and Zurich have expressed concrete interest in feeding back energy obtained from braking buses and trams into the grid.