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Vilnius gets modern, green trolleybuses with support from the EBRD

By Nigina Mirbabaeva

  • The EBRD is lending 38.23 million to JSC Vilniaus viesasis transportas
  • Loan to fund the purchase of up to 91 battery- or electricity-operated trolleybuses
  • The city of Vilnius to become the first municipality in the Baltic states to join the EBRD’s flagship Green Cities programme

The EBRD is supporting the development of greener public transport in Vilnius, by providing a €38.23 million loan to JSC Vilniaus viesasis transportas (VVT), the city’s urban transport company, to upgrade their trolleybus fleet to modern standards.

The loan is complemented by a €7.65 million concessional loan provided by the TaiwanICDF, via the High-Impact Partnership for Climate Action (HIPCA; also supported by Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom).

The EBRD’s investment will enable VVT to purchase up to 91 modern battery-electric trolleybuses with –n-motion charging (enabling route flexibility and fully autonomous battery-electric driving for limited distances) and zero tailpipe emissions. This will support the company in transitioning to an all-electric fleet of vehicles, while enhancing the quality, reliability and accessibility of Vilnius trolleybus services.

The improved daily commute for Vilnius residents, including those with limited mobility, will encourage a modal shift from private vehicle usage to the use of public transport, contributing to significant reductions in local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and helping to avoid 2,240 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The investment will also serve as a trigger project for Vilnius to join the EBRD’s flagship Green Cities programme. The programme supports cities as they transition towards a greener future across all urban sectors and uses a systematic approach to identify, prioritise and address their most pressing environmental challenges.

Vilnius will become the first EBRD Green City in the Baltic states, in keeping with its recent selection as one of the European Union’s Net Zero Cities (NZCs).The NZC programme is part of the broader EU Green Deal, with ambitions to achieve urban climate neutrality by 2030.

Susan Goeransson, Head of Infrastructure Europe in the EBRD’s Sustainable Infrastructure Group, said: “Vilnius is one of the largest cities and faster-growing capitals in the Baltic states and we are proud to support investments for more sustainable, accessible, inclusive and reliable urban transport in the city. This is a project of great significance as it will  tangibly improve the commuting experience of Vilnius residents and encourage more people to use public transport. We are also pleased to welcome Vilnius to our Green Cities network and support them in meeting their climate objectives. We hope this paves the way for other green cities in the region.”

Vilnius city Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said: “Vilnius has already renewed a large percentage of its buses. Now it is time to buy trolleybuses...[or] rather, electric buses that charge from the catenary cable and can run part of the route without direct contact with it. I am pleased that we already have bank financing and that the procurement procedures are being finalised. Soon, public transport will be even more attractive to passengers. We are also very happy that Vilnius will now form part of the EBRD Green Cities programme, which will enhance the city’s substantial green efforts of past years and will complement its ambitions to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 through the EU NetZeroCities programme.” 

Darius Aleknavičius, CEO of VVT, said: “This project will enable VVT to purchase new electric-powered trolleybuses with battery technology for autonomous (off-grid) operations, with zero tailpipe emissions and with modern standards in terms of comfort, accessibility, speed and quality. As part of VVT’s programme of fleet modernisation, we are ready to replace all our ageing vehicles in the future, as well as increase our competitiveness in the market with the best price and running costs.”

VVT is the 100 per cent municipally owned operator of the city’s buses and trolleybuses on its urban and suburban networks. VVT was established in 2011 by merging the bus operator and trolleybus operator into a single entity.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Lithuania, with €1.3 billion invested in 117 projects there to date.  

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