New factory in Roeselare, Belgium: VDL Bus & Coach moves forward with ‘Aiming for Zero’
By 2025, three-quarters of all public transport buses will be electric, and a growing number of city councils believe zero emissions should be the norm in the near future. Within this context, VDL Bus & Coach is taking the next step towards its ‘Aiming for Zero’ objective: a new factory will be built in Roeselare, Belgium, where buses will be manufactured in a CO2-neutral environment starting in late 2021.
“This location will be fully dedicated to ‘green’ buses,” explained Peter Wouters, Managing Director of the factory in Roeselare. “The production process will be designed to build electrically powered buses as efficiently as possible. This process will be made entirely energy-neutral through the use of ‘green’ technology.” The Belgian sales and service branch of VDL Bus & Coach will also move to the new location.
Centre for e-mobility
While competitors are increasingly shifting their production to low-wage countries, VDL Bus & Coach deliberately chooses to continue to build buses in Western Europe. The company strives to maintain and strengthen employment in the high-quality manufacturing industry in northern Europe, in the spirit of the VDL Groep motto: ‘The manufacturing industry has a future in Europe. Europe has a future because of the manufacturing industry.’
With the relocation and modernization of its factory in Roeselare, VDL Bus & Coach has reinforced its ‘Aiming for Zero’ ambition. “We want to remain at the forefront of e-mobility in Europe,” said VDL Bus & Coach CEO Henk Coppens. “The knowledge and expertise we have gained since the first electric bus was launched in 2015 will be further expanded. The call for zero emissions is growing everywhere. Working with our partners and customers, we tirelessly pursue the development of sustainable, innovative solutions that make this possible. The new factory in Roeselare will be our centre for e-mobility, enabling us to respond even better to the needs and demands of the market.”
The factory will be built on an eight hectare site along the Roeselare ring road. A number of zoning procedures must be completed before the planned groundbreaking in the spring of 2020.
Closing in on 50 million electric kilometres
At present, nearly 10% of Dutch public transport buses are electric. According to research conducted by ElaadNL knowledge and innovation centre, this percentage will rise to 75 by 2025 – a trend that is also to be expected in other countries, particularly in European cities.
VDL Bus & Coach's electric buses are well on their way to having driven 50 million electric kilometres. Almost 500 buses run an average of 75,000 kilometres per day in 11 countries. Compared to conventional diesel buses, this represents a CO2 reduction of 70 tonnes per day, which results in better air quality. Electric buses also significantly reduce noise, resulting in a quieter and healthier living environment.