Operating with more than 80 city trams and 28 regional trams that are used by approximately 80% of its passengers, the KVG has already been set up on an electrified basis for many years, including using clean electricity from renewable sources. Now it is getting started with a new chapter in its bus sector. It is planned to bring 12 e-buses into operation by the end of this year in a first step toward the conversion of the entire bus fleet to electric power. In addition, the KVG will be acquiring modern trams and is preparing to expand its services as a comprehensive provider of mobility services with further offerings beyond the classic operation of bus and rail services.
Space for e-mobility infrastructure in HÜBNER’s former plant
For all of this, it will need more space – for example, for new charging infrastructure, new depot facilities and modified workshop capacities. And as a modern, future-oriented employer, the KVG also needs new workplaces that are more functional and more attractive.
The KVG will have this space in future in the direct vicinity of its existing Sandershäuser Straße depot. After more than 50 years’ presence in Bettenhausen, the HÜBNER Group is now leaving this Kassel district where it grew to become the global market leader for gangway systems in buses and rail vehicles. It is turning over both its properties there with a total area of nearly 20,000 square meters to the KVG. In the interim, the former HÜBNER headquarters in the Agathofstraße 15 served as an exhibition space for the documenta fifteen art exhibition during the summer of 2022, providing an important venue for art enthusiasts from around the world.
A special partnership of HÜBNER and KVG
“HÜBNER has been connected with the KVG in a special partnership for many years. Therefore, we are especially pleased that the mobility of the future in Kassel’s public transport is getting a new home in our former headquarters,” remarked Ingolf Cedra, Managing Director of the HÜBNER Group. “We want to support the KVG with innovative products on its way into the future. It is our goal within the framework of our partnership to jointly test new ideas and to develop new solutions especially in the bus sector that will help to take local transport to a new technological level. Finally, this sort of innovative spirit is an integral part of HÜBNER’s DNA.”
Kassel Mayor and KVG Supervisory Board Chairman Christian Geselle emphasized: “These are important steps to be taking in order to make local transport future-ready in our city. The two additional sites open up new perspectives for the KVG as a modern and comprehensive mobility service provider.”
“With its tram and regio tram services, the KVG already has an outstanding e-mobility quota,” explained KVG Board Chairman Dr. Michael Maxelon.“We will also apply this expertise in our bus fleet as the importance of bus service is growing in significance in local public transport.” He noted that the Association of German Transport Companies recently has declared this to be “the decade of the bus”.
KVG wants to increase the attractiveness of local public transport
In this connection, the attractiveness of local public transport can be increased by expanding capacities and increasing offerings in bus service. This will make it possible to realize the growth in passenger numbers necessary to achieve climate protection targets by 2030. “Rail transport projects typically require planning and approval processes that extend over many years,” explained Dr. Maxelon. Against this background, he said, the KVG’s move to e-buses would be an effective step to further the city of Kassel’s progress in meeting climate protection goals within the required time horizon.
The acquisition of the two HÜBNER properties is part of a fundamental reorganization of the KVG’s depots as a transit hub for buses and trams. This will be the site of the vehicle depots, the workshops, the coordination center, the infrastructure department and many other functional departments of the KVG.
The KVG’s depots in Wilhelmshöhe and in Sandershäuser Straße will be modernized in the coming years and partially rebuilt. Some of the departments currently located at these two locations will be transferred to the two new locations in Bettenhausen.
While the Sandershäuser Straße depot is being rebuilt, it is planned for the twelve all-electric buses to be housed at the new site at Sandershäuser Straße 59. This will also involve the installation of the necessary charging infrastructure. The infrastructure workshops for switches, tracks, tram and bus stops and electrical operating equipment will move from Wilhelmshöhe to Bettenhausen. This is necessary to make space for new things in Wilhelmshöhe.
It is planned to use the Agathofstraße 15 site for housing diesel buses while the Sandershäuser Straße depot is being renovated.
The reorganization of the complete quartet of locations will take place while transit operations continue uninterrupted. “Organizing two existing depot and two new new ones all at the same time without disrupting daily operations will be a balancing act. We have a herculean task ahead of us – and one that we are looking forward to,” was Maxelon’s view of the coming challenges. He summed up: “The new few years will be demanding and challenging ones for all KVG employees. We keep Kassel on the move. And to continue to be able to do that, we need to be on the move ourselves as a company that is able to meet new challenges flexibly and quickly. With the acquisition of the two former HÜBNER properties, we are opening a new chapter for a strong, future-ready KVG."