Austria’s largest bus operator testing Solaris hydrogen bus

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 08 Jul 2020


The Dr. Richard Group, the largest private bus operator in Austria, has begun tests of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen that will be available for passenger rides from 7 to 10 July in Vienna and St. Polten. After successful test runs in Vienna in June, the bus was handed over to the Dr. Richard Group yesterday.

As more and more companies in Europe target to use clean transport solutions, including emission-free buses, private bus operators are recognising the business opportunity. Solaris has now added hydrogen-fuelled buses to its low- and zero-emission vehicle portfolio. The sole by-products generated during the operation of the Urbino 12 hydrogen are heat and steam, which renders this bus one of the most ecological vehicle available on the market.

Zero emission bus
The technologically advanced Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses use a set of fuel cells with a power of 70 kW. The hydrogen is stored in gaseous form in five new-generation tanks mounted on the bus roof. The set of type 4 composite tanks (of the latest generation available on the market), placed longitudinally above the first axle of the vehicle, has a total volume of 1560 litres.

The energy needed to power the bus is produced in the fuel cell that is supplied with hydrogen stored in the roof-mounted tanks. That hydrogen is turned into electricity, which, in turn, is feeding directly the bus driveline which consists of an axle with electric engines. The bus is also fitted with a Solaris High Power battery acting as an additional electric power storage facility. The sole by-products generated during the operation of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen are heat and steam. Consequently, the vehicles do not generate any noxious substances whatsoever.

“The Dr. Richard Group has been dealing with emission-free mobility for a few years now. Over the course of numerous tests of battery buses, we were able to gain a valuable insight into their practical operation and implementation. Now, for the first time ever, we have a chance to test a hydrogen-powered Solaris bus. The longer the distances to be covered and the heavier the vehicle itself, the more important this type of driveline is becoming, also in terms of resources needed to refuel. The relatively high costs still remain a barrier to a large-scale implementation of this particularly environment-friendly technology, but we look forward to the test which constitutes a significant milestone on our path to green mobility,” said Dr. Ludwig Richard, owner and president of the Dr. Richard Group.

“I am very glad that further trial runs of our new hydrogen bus are conducted in Austria. This state-of-the-art technology has already gained wide recognition among clients. Positive changes in public transport and its sustainable development will not succeed without the involvement of such firms as the Dr. Richard Group”, commented Petros Spinaris, Deputy CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A.

The latest product of Solaris has met with huge interest among customers. Since its première in June last year Solaris has been awarded orders from the Netherlands, Germany and Italy for 57 buses in total. The first vehicles will make it to Bolzano, Cologne and Wuppertal by the end of this year.

The Dr. Richard Group is the biggest family-run carrier in Austria with a fleet of nearly 1000 buses, including the vehicles made by Solaris. The partnership betweeen the two firms started back in 2010.

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