Germany’s Siemens has signed a preliminary agreement with Qatar-based GreenGulf to develop electrified bus (e-buses) networks, as well as other projects including energy-efficient district cooling technologies.

Although Qatar is developing both tram and metro networks, the use of e-buses is likely to be introduced to areas of the country where fixed-rail networks are not suitable.

“E-buses do not replace other transport options such as trams or metros, they are a complementary technology and normally e-buses will be used in an area where a tram might not be feasible,” says Joerg Scheifler, chief executive officer of Siemens infrastructure and cities sector.

He gives the example of the Msheireb development being built in downtown Doha as a potential location for an e-bus network. The relatively compact lay-out of the property development is potentially more suited for e-buses rather than a fixed-track tram network.

“For instance, the Msheireb development is quite congested. E-buses could be a solution there,” he says.

“It is a very sustainable solution. It is emission-free and requires investments that are much lower than required for a metro or tram project.”

The e-buses are promoted as energy-efficient vehicles, which are recharged with 15 minutes at bus stations.

As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup, it is under pressure to develop the required infrastructure with limited damage to the environment.

Siemens has a track record in developing e-buses, having supplied the electric buses now operating in the Austrian capital of Vienna’s city centre.