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Frankfurt opts for hydrogen-powered Solaris buses for the third time – this time in articulated version

In-der-City-Bus GmbH (ICB), the public transport operator in Frankfurt am Main, has placed an order for 9 Solaris Urbino 18 articulated hydrogen buses. There are already 23 hydrogen-powered Solaris buses running in the city, supplied in 2022 and 2024. Deliveries of the articulated buses from the latest order are scheduled for July 2025.


ICB aims for a fully electrified bus fleet by the early 2030s, which is in line with the climate protection goals set by Frankfurt am Main. The carrier’s fleet already includes 5 battery-powered Urbino 12 electric vehicles and 23 Urbino 12 hydrogen vehicles. The articulated hydrogen-powered buses will join them next year.

The vehicles will be powered by a 100 kW fuel cell. Additional batteries will be installed in each of the ordered buses, serving as auxiliary power. The hydrogen necessary to power the buses will be stored in gaseous form in roof-mounted composite tanks, meeting the highest safety standards.

Like the previous vehicles for ICB, the newly ordered models will also be equipped with features such air conditioning with a heat pump heating function, as well as the manufacturer’s proprietary software for remote fleet management eSConnect. The buses’ equipment will include a full range of systems compliant with the latest GSR2 regulations, encompassing blind spot monitoring systems, speed limit detection systems, driver fatigue detection systems, and tire pressure monitoring systems.

Solaris’ market share in the European hydrogen segment reached 44.5% in 2023. The company has been building its expertise in hydrogen technology for almost a decade and has delivered 200 Solaris hydrogen buses to 24 cities in Europe so far. Furthermore, Solaris has registered additional orders for 600 hydrogen-powered vehicles, to be delivered between 2024 and 2026.



Why not just use battery buses ?
Much more efficient.
DO they have a particularly long route, or is just greenwashing ?
(Which they could achieve with battery buses)


Since I do not read German, digging out the reasons for their choice, which only includes a percentage of hydrogen buses with many remaining battery powered, is not easy.

However, I did find this:

' The vehicles have a guaranteed range of 350 kilometres; in comparison, battery buses have to go to the charging station after only 180 kilometres, depending on the model. For longer routes, hydrogen propulsion is currently the only alternative to conventional diesel propulsion. A second important advantage is the charging time: while battery buses have to be charged for up to 6 hours – and are then unusable – hydrogen buses are refuelled within 15 minutes and are immediately ready to drive again.'

Dunno about the 'only alternative' as pantographs can also be installed, but of course that may be a hassle in some places, and of course incurs some additional cost.

One imagines that to make sure they are covering longer more demanding routes, especially when it gets cold, they have figured that having a proportion of electric buses helps, although since the region is not particularly hilly I also find the choice a bit surprising.

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