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German transport operator LNVG contracts for 23 Solaris hydrogen buses

Solaris Bus & Coach and public transport operator Lokale Nahverkehrsgesellschaft mbH (LNVG) in the District of Groß-Gerau signed a contract for the supply of 15 Urbino 12 hydrogen units and 8 articulated Urbino 18 hydrogen buses. This is the first order placed by this carrier with Solaris.

The hydrogen buses will roll out onto the streets of Groß-Gerau in November 2024 for 12-meter models, and articulated models by mid-2025. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

The Urbino 12 hydrogen and Urbino 18 hydrogen models are powered by energy derived from 70 kW and 100 kW fuel cells, respectively, and their driveline is based on electric traction motors. The buses will be fitted with Solaris High Power batteries that act in hydrogen vehicles as a supporting energy storage facility.

The comfort and safety of passengers will be ensured by efficient air conditioning using a heat pump, a comprehensive video surveillance system and a modern passenger information system. To aid the driver’s work, the buses will be equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), including features to detect pedestrians and cyclists in the blind spot of the vehicle. In addition, the eSConnect system designed by Solaris for monitoring vehicle performance and fleet management will facilitate day-to-day operations.

LNVG has been testing hydrogen technology in public transport for a few years now and also aims to transform the whole fleet to be zero-emission and to generate no noxious emissions by 2030.

Urbino hydrogen units have so far been ordered and delivered to clients from Austria, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy.



If you are running a bus fleet then having at least some of them running on hydrogen with their range etc comparable to diesel greatly lightens the management considerations.

All sorts of things like terrain and climate also come into it, so where it is cold and hilly they are a great choice, but having the option in many fleets with their fast recharge times, so quick despatch, makes life a lot easier.


I don't see how hydrogen is an advantage in hilly terrain, given that it would depend on regen ability which is also a strong point of EV solutions. 70/100KW will need a lot of help from batteries for a full bus on a long climb.
Cold weather performance depends on the reliability of refueling infrastructure. No doubt it's a solvable problem, but I read that H2 refueling stations in Norway had to be shut-down during a recent cold spell. Any transit agency will need to test performance in local conditions, it may be cheaper to park H2 buses on colder days.



' given that it would depend on regen ability '

It does not in an FCEV, Sure, regen kicks in, only less so than in a pure BEV due to a smaller battery.

But what does happen is that in the downhill bits the fuel cell keeps chugging along, topping up the battery.

The basic issue is that having a bigger hydrogen tank even allowing for the weight of the container adds and costs way less than sticking in still more batteries.

' Cold weather performance depends on the reliability of refueling infrastructure.'

In a bus you don't want to be refuelling halfway round the route. Even if you did, on a very long one, you certainly do not want to be hanging around waiting for batteries to charge, or hammering them with fast charge.
A refill of hydrogen is darn near as quick as petrol.

No idea what happened in Norway, as you do not provide any links or references, but stuff happens, which may, or may not, be due to special or unique circumstances, or screwing up with new technology,

La Poste in France has been running hydrogen vehicles now for several years, in models which also have straight battery variants, and they do indeed report that in hilly or mountainous terrain, where it can get very chilly, they have a considerable advantage.



I forgot to mention that otherwise waste heat from the fuel cell not only keeps the occupants warm, but keeps the battery at optimal temperature, so is a freebie compared to batteries which have a large power drain to keep both themselves and the interior of the vehicle warm when it gets seriously cold.

Here is what hilly, and sometime chilly, Nevada has to say about why they are trialling them:


Davemart, what you are describing is an electric bus with a small on-board range extender. Sort of a scaled-up version of the old BMW i3. The advantage on hills comes from the EV part, not the genset.

As I wrote earlier, different transit agencies have different needs. Apparently, Nevada has some very long rural routes, and a big fat subsidy from the feds. In that case, why not play around with hydrogen, maybe it will work-out?
Urban buses couldn't do 300 miles in a day, even if they ignored all stop requests, ran two drivers, and had a chemical toilet. That would be an average of 20 km/h on downtown routes, 24/7 (never mind that no agencies run their buses 24/7)!

What's fascinating in all this is how certain sources constantly fret about "how are we going to run EV buses?", while hundreds of transit agencies are already doing it successfully. It's almost as if the fretters and complainers had a secondary agenda to push their own largely-discredited tech...
I especially like the whole "oh no, how can we run EVs in cold weather?" when EV bus adoption has been especially good in Nordic countries! Obviously, those complaining can't just hop on a plane and find-out for themselves; they are too busy complaining.


@Bernard said:

' As I wrote earlier, different transit agencies have different needs. '

?? What I have consistently said is that the mix of battery and fuel cell cars depends on the local climate, topology and route demands.

As far as I am aware, you argue for battery electric everywhere without exception.

If I am mistaken, please specificy where and under what conditions you think fuel cell buses are preferable, at least as a proportion of the fleet.

There are also all sorts of levels of fuel cell assistance, for instance Mercedes in the Alps in their Citaro line are going for a very large battery with minimal fuel cell assistance,

Do you actually support the use of fuel cells under some circumstances, or are you simply seeki;ng to cover absolute opposition to what you regard as: ' largely-discredited tech'?

That ain't what the transport companies think.


Davemart, maybe you skipped past the part where I mentioned long rural routes being favourable to H2 buses in Nevada? It's the sentence that follows the one you quoted.

I always mention that H2 mobility has applications. However, the applications that you often propose are already being filled by cheaper (capital and maintenance) EV buses that are available now. "Pay more get less" isn't a great use of public funds. However, in a state with low population density like NV, it's certain that H2 could handle some rural transport demand.

And we are right back to "different transit agencies have different needs." It's rare for a city to be single-mode for transit. Maybe H2 can be used in distant suburbs, if light rail isn't an option.


Hi Bernard.

Fair enough, we are in agreement, I probably confounded your statements with the other Bernard.
I have no preference for fuel cells over batteries, just a dislike for batteries taken as religion.

Where batteries can do the job, and it is cheaper and more energy efficient to use them as the power is to hand when needed, they would be the normal go-to solution.

Where they can't or the need for additional flexibility is required, fuel cells even if only as a light hybrid give more options.

Mercedes in their Citaro line have a very battery heavy solution, which uses a small fuel cell range extender, and qualify it for the Alps, which could reasonably be described as hilly! ;-)

If I were a fleet manager I would in any case ideally even in flat territory prefer to have a few fuel cell vehicles, as they have a similar duty cycle to diesel, and can cover any of their routes with no notice,

But the main point is that it is a technical case by case decision, not the result of some sweeping universe down ukase about the one and only true solution.

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