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First order for Solaris’ 18m articulated hydrogen bus

The German carrier Stadtwerke Aschaffenburg Verkehrs GmbH has opted for 12 Solaris hydrogen buses: 10 Urbino 12 hydrogen and 2 Urbino 18 hydrogen units. This is Solaris’s first order for the 18-meter hydrogen-powered buses that were launched in autumn last year. (Earlier post.)

The ordered buses will roll out onto the streets of this German city as soon as 2024.


The hydrogen is stored in gaseous form in tanks, mounted on the front part of the vehicle’s roof. The Urbino 12 hydrogen units will be equipped with a 70 kW set of fuel cells, while the Urbino 18 hydrogen buses will feature a 100 kW fuel cell module. At moments of increased electricity demand, the fuel cell will be boosted by a Solaris High Power battery, or two of them, depending on the bus length, each with a capacity of 30 kWh.

As standard, the vehicle’s interior will feature air conditioning, cameras monitoring the passenger compartment and the immediate vicinity of the bus, as well as an advanced passenger communication system. With an automatic passenger counting system, the driver will always be kept informed as to the number of passengers currently onboard.

A spacious area for the simultaneous transport of a wheelchair and a pram/pushchair or a bike has also been envisaged. Moreover, the vehicles will boast USB ports to recharge mobile devices.

In addition, the buses destined for Aschaffenburg will be equipped with advanced systems, such as cameras in lieu of mirrors or the MobileEye Shield+ system, which alerts the driver every time an unexpected object is detected in the vicinity of the bus. Continuous servicing of the vehicles will be provided by eSConnect, a bus fleet monitoring and management system designed by Solaris.

Since its launch in autumn 2022, the Urbino 18 hydrogen model has seen growing interest across the European market. As for Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses, out of more than 200 units ordered to-date, 100 vehicles already ply routes in cities including Bolzano in Italy, Cologne and Wuppertal in Germany, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, and in the city of Konin in Poland.



I don't know to what extent it applies to buses, it probably depends on the details of the route, climate etc, but in the case of trucks, fleet managers who aren't easily fooled are finding that they often simply need more BEVs to do the job than FCEVs, around 10% more.

That of course knocks out many of the calculations of relative costs as presented here and elsewhere.

I think more regular and predictable routes and the opportunities to simply charge at base are more favourable for BEV buses, but certainly some places it would appear that FCEVs are the hard nosed cost conscious alternative for fleet managers.

Details of the info on what fleet managers are saying on the need for more BEVs than FCEVs for the same job in their consideration of major purchases of trucks here:


I won't buy a ticket for a fuelcell bus but i would buy one for an hydrogen ice bus because it will cost less and will not pollute more
and less than fuelcell if you take account of the pollution from more mining for platinum, rare earth and copper.


They should build combined trolleybus / battery buses.
These could charge while on the move from catenary wires, but run on smaller batteries (or further) that pure BEVs.
The main advantage would be that they could charge on the run and you could put the charging wires towards the ends of the runs, rather than in the city centres.
You might want (say) 10-20% of the full run length electrified at one or both ends of the runs.
Thus, you could turn around immediately at the ends of the runs - no delays.


Jim, we have had a metro coming 'real soon' in Bristol for 15 years or so.
It gets put back by around 18 months every year.

Loads of money to build fixed and inflexible routes, massive disruption.

Either BEV charging points or hydrogen depots are comparatively simple and without disruption.


@Dave, I agree that it is much easier to get going without having to build rails for the full system, especially in urban centers.
Thus, my proposal can be seen as a "charge while moving" system which is only needed in the mid-outer parts of the system, which should be much easier to install than a full rail / overhead line system.

Also, after thinking about it, the best place to put the charging lines is before the lines split into sub-lines near the terminii.
i.e., you might have routes 19, 19a and 19b which are the same for the central 80%, and split up for the last 10% at each end of the route.
Thus, you need to pull the charging zone to inside the split zones and outside the central zone.


Hi Jim.
Here in Bristol ripping out car lanes and putting in bus and cycle lanes has taken years and caused major disruption.

Even 20% of the routes would still take a long time, and be costly.

At some stage then something may be pratical, but hydrogen station and fixed charging points for buses are far more of a right-now solution, I would have thought.

And either fuel cell or battery buses would be, at least in theory, compatible with the later addition of overhead/underground charging as and when it became available.

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