The Electric Bus Pioneers from Norderstedt
In 2021, the city of Norderstedt purchased 10 electric buses, which are now in operation shuttling passengers around town. This 50-year journey to implementing electric buses in the city started with prototype e-buses commissioned by Daramic (formerly WR Grace) in 1971.
In September 1971, the International Lead Conference was held in Hamburg, DE with more than 1,000 delegates from all over the battery world. As part of the festivities, and given the closeness of the Daramic Norderstedt plant to the conference, Daramic was set to host up to 100 people for a tour and presentations. The challenge was how to meaningfully provide transportation to their guests at the plant. As a solution, Daramic secured and hired electric bus prototypes, one as a hybrid with lead-acid batteries integrated and one as a full electric with the traction lead-acid batteries in a two-wheel trailer. The lead-acid batteries were made by Varta and featured Daramic separator technology.
Initiator of the e-Bus connection was Johannes Schneider, the 36 years veteran of the WR Grace (Daramic) group. Schneider (pictured) reflected on the events and use of e-buses, “That was a special marketing initiative for us. We had over 100 guests invited to this conference and these two e-buses were driven to our plant to give the attendees a good show.”
The two e-bus prototypes still exist today and were last seen in Malta at the 2016 European Lead Battery Conference (ELBC)