Electric Buses and Taxis at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands

Context of Transport Climate Action

The global aviation industry is responsible for 3% of all CO2 emissions, most of which are caused by the combustion of kerosene. In order to maximize the reduction of CO2 emissions, the aviation industry has to focus on limiting the use of fossil fuels now and in the future.

The Schiphol Group takes responsibility for environmental protection and mitigation of the consequences of climate change. The group is pursuing active policies in the area of emission reduction and in addition to focusing on our own business operations, we encourage our partners at the airport to take measures in the interests of sustainability.


Our focus is on expanding the use clean transport to, from and at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Since June 2015, thirty-five electric buses at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol have been transporting passengers to and from aircraft to gate. Each bus has its own charging point at the airport, making Schiphol the biggest charging station for electric buses in Europe. The buses were designed especially for, and in collaboration with, the airport. Each have a smaller than normal battery, tailored to the required cicuit at Schiphol; allowing more space for seating and baggage. Solar panels are used for the charging process. The buses have been supplied by the Chinese company BYD.

In addition, passengers travelling to or from the airport by taxi now have a sustainable option. After a successful tendering procedure in 2014, which gained world-wide attention the concession was given to BIOS and BBF Schipholtaxi. They put in a fleet of 167 electrically- powered Teslas into service and as a result, Schiphol now boasts the largest fleet of electrically- powered taxis of any airport in the world.


Schipol’s previous buses – some 20 to 40 vehicles – were diesel powered and, after some ten years’ service, were approaching the end of their working life.

It was evident that buses running on diesel fuel were not best fit for purpose at Schipol because maintenance and fuel costs in these diesel vehicles were quite high, compared with electric vehicles.

This is primarily due to the length and frequency of Schiphol’s routine bus journeys, which can cover approximately 980-1,093 yards (900 to 1km) per trip between the aircraft and terminal building. This is too short a journey to heat a diesel motor to its optimum performance temperature as

diesel engines work very well for longer journeys, but aren’t the best option for short stop-start trips over short distances. This observation led the airport to investigate alternative engine power solutions, including gas, liquid gas, hydrogen and electrically-powered buses. The latter proved to be the most efficient.

Initially, a joint trial was set up between Schiphol and BYD to run two electrically- powered buses in China. This was followed up with two more test projects at Schiphol Airport. After these trials were completed successfully, the order for 35 units and their associated charging points was signed in July, 2013.

A problem to overcome was that Schiphol had originally been hiring buses for transport on the apron. To create a positive business case for electric buses at Schiphol, the decision was taken to purchase them.

For the taxi concession, the challenge was to dare to insist on zero emission vehicles. Fast charging stations were also needed for electric taxis.


Electric buses and taxis help reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, the previous low floor buses used a lot more fuel (1.2 litres per kilometer) than expected for the distances used, as the motor ran idle when waiting for passengers, significantly wasting fuel. It is hoped that emission measurements, yet to be made available, on electrically-powered taxis will also show this marked improvement to be true for taxis.

Potential for scaling up

The next step is a switch to electric vehicles for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM). The possibilities for implementing this switch are currently the subject of research in collaboration with Schipol’s business partners.



Schiphol, Haarlemmermeer, the Netherlands


2014 and 2015




Europe, Mitigation, Cars, Technology


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol


Denise Pronk Programme manager Corporate Responsibility pronk_d@schiphol.nl

Jos Nijhuis, Schiphol Group CEO & President:
'Schiphol aims to be one of the most sustainable airports in the world. In everything we do we try to be cleaner, smarter, more economical and more social. It's absolutely fantastic that the buses are charged via their own solar panels.'