Austria’s biggest carrier orders first hydrogen buses

Austria’s biggest carrier orders first hydrogen buses
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ÖBB Postbus has landed a deal with Solaris for the delivery of five hydrogen buses. The hydrogen-fuelled vehicles shall be deployed in the picturesque city of Villach in south-east Austria. This is the first order placed under a framework agreement concluded at the beginning of 2021 and envisioning the option for the purchase of up to 40 vehicles of this type by the customer. The investment coincides with the execution of the H2 Carinthia project which aims to foster the development of hydrogen technology in this region.

The use of hydrogen in transport provides a real opportunity to reduce emissions generated by this sector. Public transport operators and municipal authorities in the Austrian province of Carinthia wish to tap into this enormous potential. The H2 Carinthia project aims to support the development of the region in terms of the use of hydrogen in public transport and for industrial purposes. The participants include the largest carriers in Austria, city authorities and energy firms, too. This project will cover, among others, the first hydrogen fuelling station of Carinthia, as well as the addition of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles to existing bus fleets.

At the beginning of 2021 Solaris entered a framework agreement with carrier ÖBB Postbus, stipulating the possibility of the purchase of up to 40 hydrogen buses by 2023. In December 2021, the carrier took advantage of that option, placing an order for 5 units of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen model. These vehicles use energy generated onboard in a set of fuel cells. Thanks to the technology used therein the bus can cover a distance of about 350 km completely emission-free under all kinds of conditions. Solaris shall deliver the vehicles by the end of November 2022. The innovative buses are to be deployed in Villach, the capital of the Carinthian Alps.

Interestingly, in spring this year the hydrogen-fuelled, zero-emission Urbino 12 hydrogen was on display and was doing test runs in Carinthia, including Villach itself. The representatives of regional authorities and of transport operators were therefore able to take a very close look at the technology used in this vehicle. The state-of-the-art bus model certainly captured the attention of local carriers. After test rides in Carinthia, the presentation of the hydrogen Solaris was continued in the province of Upper Austria.

ÖBB Postbus is the biggest bus operator in Austria. One of the chief aspects of its business operation is the testing of alternative propulsion technologies based on, for instance, hydrogen or electric power. The partnership between Postbus and Solaris dates back to 2009, and right now Postbus operates some 169 vehicles of the Urbino model. The contract signed at the beginning of December is the first one though concerning alternative drive buses.

“The start of a new, ‘electric’ chapter in the cooperation with our customer Postbus is not only a great honour for us, but it also marks a chance at fostering the green change in public transport in Austria by providing innovative solutions. Seeing as Austrian clients have expressed interest in hydrogen and electric technology used in buses, I am extremely optimistic about the development of sustainable transport in this part of Europe,” remarked Petros Spinaris, Member of the Management Board of Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o. for Sales, Marketing and After Sales.

Solaris is Europe's leading provider of zero-emission solutions for city transport vehicles, in particular for electric and hydrogen buses. The hydrogen-fuelled Urbino 12 hydrogen was launched in 2019 and is currently the technically most advanced vehicle of the manufacturer’s portfolio. So far, some 100 units of this model have been sold to clients in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.

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Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o. is one of the leading European bus and trolleybus manufacturers. Benefiting from 25 years of experience and having manufactured over 20,000 vehicles, Solaris affects the quality of city transport in hundreds of cities across Europe every day. Thinking of the future, the firm is setting new standards by dynamically developing its products, in particular in the electromobility sector. Solaris electric buses, trolleybuses and hydrogen buses are cutting-edge solutions for zero emission public transport. Solaris products have been repeatedly awarded for quality and innovation. The Solaris Urbino 12 electric won the prestigious European "Bus of the Year 2017" competition. In September 2018 Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o. joined CAF Group.

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Mateusz Figaszewski

E-mobility Development & Market Intelligence Director

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