Date: November 11-15, 2019
Who: Qbuzz bus drivers, team leaders and transport assistants
Trainers: Harm Hofman and Maurice Toepoel (Ebusco)
Location: Qbuzz, Groningen (the Netherlands)
In the week from 11 to 15 November, Maurice Toepoel and Harm Hofman (Ebusco) provided training to 60 Qbuzz bus drivers, technical support staff and team leaders. The training consisted of a morning and an afternoon session, during which drivers received training about our bus during one part of the day and about another new bus that will be on the road in Groningen-Drenthe (the Netherlands) during the other part of the day.
Purpose of training
The purpose of this training is to enable bus drivers and managers to gain theoretical and practical experience with these new electric buses. These buses (the Ebusco 2.2 buses) will provide regional transport throughout Groningen and Drenthe in the next 10 years.
We will help you to make a simple diagnosis and resolve simple malfunctions yourself. As high voltage (HV) is involved, the safety part was explained extensively so that everyone is aware of what you can and cannot touch. We also give tips and tricks about “the new driving*”.
Maurice provided the theoretical part of the training.
“I started with a general explanation of who Ebusco exactly is, where and how the electric buses are made and what the most important differences are compared to diesel buses.
In addition, we help you to be able to make a diagnosis quickly and effectively and to resolve simple malfunctions yourself. During this training we also extensively discussed the ‘train-the-trainer principle’. For example, we specifically agreed on how these 60 participants will transfer the knowledge to their colleagues, so all drivers who will be driving these buses will take to the road with full confidence.
After the theory part we went outside – to the bus – and demonstrated directly what you can and cannot touch and why. Because an electric bus works with high voltage, of course, so you have to handle it in the right, safe way.
We made certain that we gave extensive explanations to ensure that drivers are completely confident on the road with our buses, “said Maurice.
We made the training really ‘hands-on’. In other words, participants experienced it themselves and arrived at an answer together. We made participants really understand the bus by using various exercises. One example was a diagnostic exercise: what warnings may appear on the dashboard and what action should you take in these situations?
After that, it was time to get practical: everyone (well… everyone with a driving licence 😉) was allowed to drive a while him- or herself to experience what it feels like to drive an electric vehicle. All this was done under the guidance of Harm Hofman. Harm has over 35 years of experience as a bus and coach driver. He currently works as a driver with Ebusco, and has done so for many years. Harm let the Qbuzz employees experience for themselves how electric driving works. He is a fan of ‘the new driving’ (also called: 1 pedal driving), which of course can also be used with electric buses.
“I let the drivers drive off at top speed and then let them ‘brake’ by taking their foot off the gas. Then you feel the braking effect on the engine.
The first feedback I got on the drivers’ experiences was: “It runs smoothly” and “Hey, it’s virtually silent”. And from those who never had driven electric: “It actually drives the same as a diesel bus.”
The most frequently asked question was: “Can I do enough kilometres? Won’t I come to a stop? ”
Harm says: “With this Ebusco electric bus you can drive around 350 km on a full battery. So if you are at 90%, you can still drive 315 km”.
Harm gave a nice practical example: “I recently drove from Deurne (near Eindhoven) to Brussels (120 km one way). In Brussels I made several short journeys and then I started my drive back with 49% on the battery. As a test I didn’t do 80, but 70 kilometres per hour on the highway. And do you know how much battery I had left when I got back to Deurne? No less than 25%! So this really has an impact and you can always play with it if you have doubts about whether you can complete your trip ”.
In addition, there are also 8 depots spread out in Groningen and Drenthe where you can always charge in between times if necessary. They are primarily designed to recharge all buses to 100% at night, but also available during the day for recharging outside peak hours.
Ebusco wishes all drivers in Groningen-Drenthe a lot of success and fun in the coming 10 years with these new Ebusco electric buses. Here’s to many safe electric kilometers!
*The New Driving is the Dutch name for a driving style that works with modern, computer-driven engines in new vehicles to save fuel and reduce co2.