Climate protection project electric buses: risks for mayors and municipal councils
The conversion to electric vehicles is the largest and most fascinating climate protection project ever. While public transportation is set to be the pioneer in this field, electric buses may also become million-dollar graves for mayors and local councils, warns Dr. Ute Jasper of the risks.
Gasoline and diesel are out, electric vehicles are in. The German government wants to put one million vehicles with alternative propulsion systems onto roads by 2020. “Buying electric vehicles is not easy, it is not comparable to buying 'normal' cars,” Dr. Ute Jasper from the law firm of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek sounds a warning to mayors and local councils. “Those who select the wrong bidding procedure will neither obtain climate protection nor low-cost electric vehicles,” said Jasper.
The purchase of electric vehicles is not only a question of price. “The most beautiful electric buses are useless if the charging stations don't fit,” Jasper pointed out. If electric vehicles with an additional combustion engine are purchased, they usually fail to meet the climate target that a city council may have set. And “municipalities are liable for a functioning public transportation system. If the range of the electric vehicles is insufficient or charging takes too long, local traffic may collapse,” the specialist lawyer warned of the risks. The same applies to the acquisition of electric vehicles for road maintenance and public facilities such as hospitals. “These interface risks only exist with alternative, emission-free drives – gas- and diesel-powered vehicles are driven to the nearest filling station and that's it. It is not as easy here,” stated lawyer Laurence Westen.
All of this must fit together from the very first minute, including the accurate calculation of acquisition and operating cost. “The great project of electromobility must not lead to a rude awakening. Any mayor, who only invites bids for individual buses and not for a functioning overall system, takes a high risk,” explained Ute Jasper.
The largest invitation to bid for electric buses in Germany is currently underway at ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft in Wiesbaden. The award procedure for 220 electric buses and the associated charging infrastructure has been designed and is supported by Dr. Ute Jasper and her team. Wiesbaden will be the first German city to entirely switch to emission-free local transportation.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s Public Sector & Public Procurement department has been one of the three best procurement law practices for years. Since 1991, it has advised on awards, restructuring, large-scale projects, and cooperations in the public sector and has accompanied several hundred large-scale projects of the federal, state and local authorities and their subsidiaries with a total volume of more than EUR 20 billion without any procedures having been successfully challenged.
Dr. Ute Jasper is one of the most renowned lawyers for procurement and infrastructure projects in the public sector. She advises federal and state ministries, municipalities, and businesses, particularly on innovative and complex projects. Ute Jasper heads Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek's "Public Sector & Public Procurement" department. For years, she has been ranked number 1 in JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms and according to "Law Firms in Germany," is the "premier contact on the market" for infrastructure. In October 2016, she received the JUVE Award for Regulated Industries with her team.