In-der-City-Bus GmbH (ICB), the public transport management company of Frankfurt am Main, has placed an order for 10 hydrogen-powered buses from Solaris. There are already 13 Urbino hydrogen vehicles running in the metropolis since 2022. The operator also intends to launch its own hydrogen refuelling station by mid-year. The new order of buses will be added to the ICB fleet in the first quarter of 2024.
Frankfurt am Main is one of the largest cities in Germany. The municipal transport company In-der-City-Bus GmbH (ICB) operates three bus bundles in Frankfurt am Main, covering more than 50 per cent of Frankfurt's bus services. The company operates 34 routes with a 228-vehicle fleet – 24/7, 365 days a year. Around 750 people work as busdrivers, workshop professionals and in the administrative staff. In line with the climate protection goals of the city of Frankfurt am Main, ICB aims to electrify the bus fleet by the early 2030s. With battery and hydrogen buses and modern, low-emission diesel buses, the company already stands for environmentally friendly connections and comfortable urban mobility. The operator's fleet already includes both battery-powered Solaris Urbino 12 electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered Solaris models for passenger transport since last year.
In the last few days, the carrier has settled a tender for the purchase of a further 10 hydrogen buses, choosing Solaris as the supplier. The ICB opted for the same hydrogen-powered model as in the previous order – the Urbino 12 hydrogen. The newly contracted buses will feature similar equipment to the hydrogen buses already known to the citizens of Frankfurt.
The vehicles will run on hydrogen fuel cells, producing only heat and water vapor as by-products. The electricity generated in the process of reverse electrolysis is then transmitted directly to the axle with two electric motors, which power the bus. Each of the buses ordered will be equipped with an additional Solaris High Power battery. The energy storage plays an auxiliary role in the hydrogen bus and is used during times of high energy demand, as well as in the recuperation process. The hydrogen will be stored in gas form, in roof-mounted composite tanks that meet the highest safety standards.
The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen will be equipped with several state-of-the-art ADAS solutions to support the driver, including the MirrorEye system, which is a set of cameras installed in place of the side mirrors to provide the driver with excellent visibility in different weather conditions. Solaris will deliver the buses in the first quarter of 2024. The total value of the order is around €6.5 million.
Cities are increasingly using hydrogen buses for their regular urban traffic and the technology is of growing interest to transport operators. Solaris is the largest European manufacturer of hydrogen buses, having been developing this technology for almost a decade. The company has already delivered almost 120 fuel cell vehicles to 15 European cities. Since last year, Solaris hydrogen portfolio also includes an articulated model, the Urbino 18 hydrogen.