Hamburger Hochbahn AG has launched a tender for the delivery of up to 50 fuel cell buses for the years 2021 to 2025. The invitation to tender consists of four lots.
Hochbahn will purchase both pure fuel cell hybrid buses and battery-electric buses in which the fuel cell serves as a range extender. Both solo and articulated buses are tendered for both technical solutions.
The basis of the tender is a detailed specification sheet that sets clear technical requirements for the vehicles. These include a minimum range of 300 km (186 miles) for solo buses and 230 km (143 miles) for articulated buses—longer ranges than required for the basic battery-electric bus tender (earlier post).
The tender was preceded by a Europe-wide process in which manufacturers could qualify to participate in the tender. Several providers have now successfully achieved this. The number and names of the companies that are now invited to submit bids are confidential for reasons of competition.
Fuel cell technology has been an integral part of the Hochbahn vehicle strategy for converting the bus fleet to emission-free drives for years. With the completion of the qualification process a decisive step towards the use of series-ready hydrogen buses in Hamburg has been achieved.
Together with the pure battery buses, which have a range of 150 or 200 kilometers depending on the generation, Hochbahn is setting up its technology portfolio with the fuel cell buses so that the diesel bus can be retired by the end of the decade and the vehicle fleet can be completely converted to emission-free drives. The advantages of fuel cells are their high flexibility and range.
Hochbahn has years of experience in hydrogen technology. Most recently, fuel hybrid buses were tested on innovation line 109 from 2014 and developed further together with the manufacturer. The testing of the vehicles was successfully completed at the beginning of last year. The HOCHBAHN currently has two battery buses with fuel cells as range extenders that are used in normal line operations.