European Union intends to deploy 152 hydrogen powered buses and establish the requisite charging infrastructure under the “Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe” programme. This programme is giving a fillip to development of hydrogen fuel cell buses in Europe. One of the companies manufacturing such buses is the Polish company Solaris.
Under the “Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe” programme, Solaris has received an order to supply 25 buses to regional bus operators in Koln and Wuppertaler. The buses being supplied are the Urbino 12 buses. These buses are powered by a 70 KW Hydrogen fuel cell which powers two 110 KW electric motors driving the rear axle of he bus. The bus also carries a 30 KW-H Li-ion battery pack which can be charged using plug-in charger or fuel cell or the regenerative braking system. These batteries support the fuel cell when there is a sudden surge in energy requirement. The combined range of the bus is 350 Km between charges of Hydrogen. It stores 37.5 Kg of hydrogen in 5 Class-4 composite tanks of 312 litre capacity each. The tanks are arranged longitudinally across the axles on the roof of the bus.
The front axle of the bus has independent suspension while the rear is portal axle with integrated electric motors. The bus is provided with EBS electronic (dual-circuit) braking system incorporating ABS and traction control system (ASR). It has been provided with parking (hand) brake with emergency release function from the driver’s seat. The bus has ECAS air suspension which can be used to lower the right side for ease of boarding. This system can lower the right side by 70 mm or raise it by 60 mm.
The bus comes with a stainless steel body. The door configuration can be customised by the operator from the various options in offer. The bus can seat 37 passengers and a driver and have a manually stowed wheelchair ramp.
In addition, several safety features have been provided to make the life of the driver easy and the pedestrians and cyclists around the bus safe. These include, modern CCTV cameras, and an advanced passenger information system. The bus comes with MobilEye Shield+ system which allows the driver to see more thanks to cameras placed outside of the vehicle. This substantially improves the safety of passengers and other road users. The cameras detect pedestrians and cyclists in the blind spot of the vehicle, which is particularly important during turns. In such a case the system warns the driver by means of acoustic alerts and light signals. The device also informs the driver about each pedestrian and cyclist who is up to 80 cm around the bus. The MobilEye Shield+ responds alerts the driver when a vehicle leaves a lane without appropriately signalling or when the distance to the vehicle in front is inadequate. The system also alerts the driver to collision risks, recognises speed limits and signals these to the driver on the display.