Solaris Bus & Coach has delivered the first of a total of 15 hydrogen buses ordered in 2020 by German public transport operator, Regionalverkehr Köln (RVK).

Currently, RVK’s drivers are undergoing training in refuelling processes, the specifics of the hydrogen drive and the technology used in the hydrogen bus. The Solaris Urbino 12 is the first hydrogen-powered vehicle delivered by the manufacturer to the region.

Eventually, all the buses will be deployed to three locations where RVK operates. Five of them will be put into service in the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis district, another five will go to the Rhein-Sieg district on the left bank of the Rhine and the remaining five to the city of Hürth.

The hydrogen-powered Solaris buses have been purchased as part of an EU project known as JIVE 2, with the support of The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and through the NIP2 programme (National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology), as well as the support of the Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The first of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen vehicles delivered to Germany uses a set of 70 kW fuel cells. The bus is capable of covering up to 350 km on a single refill.

Apart from densely populated city districts, the vehicles will also service rural areas. The hydrogen bus has been equipped with a Solaris High Power traction battery that boosts the fuel cell in moments of increased demand for electric power. The battery is recharged using energy derived from hydrogen and energy recovered during braking.

In turn, electric power produced via electrolysis propels an axle with integrated electric motors. The hydrogen needed to propel the bus is stored in gaseous form in tanks placed above the first axle.

German operator, WSW Mobil in Wuppertal, has placed an order for ten vehicles of the same type. Solaris will also deliver 12 hydrogen buses to Italian operator SASA Bolzano and 20 such units to Dutch operator, Connexxion, providing transport services for the province of South Holland by the end of 2021.