Deutsche Bahn gives go-ahead for hydrogen buses

Photo: Deutsche Bahn

Framework agreement with Portuguese manufacturer Caetanobus – 60 hydrogen buses by 2026 – First vehicles to run in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in a year’s time

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Berlin, 16 February 2023

Deutsche Bahn is pushing ahead with the conversion to a climate-neutral company and ordering a larger number of hydrogen buses for its bus division DB Regio Bus for the first time. The first vehicles are to run in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in early 2024. Behind the order is DB’s clear goal of phasing out the last diesel bus in 2038. In just seven years’ time, all newly procured buses are to be operated without emissions. With around 470 million passengers per year, DB Regio Bus is the largest provider of bus transport in Germany.

Evelyn Palla, Member of the Management Board of Regional Transport DB AG stressed that “Hydrogen buses are climate-friendly on the road and have another advantage: they are filled up faster than the batteries of a purely electric bus are charged. With their long range, hydrogen buses are particularly well suited to replace diesel vehicles in rural areas. With the order of 60 hydrogen buses, we are taking another step towards saying goodbye to diesel.”

The buses will be supplied by the Portuguese manufacturer Caetanobus and the fuel cells by Toyota. The framework agreement now agreed runs until 2026 and assumes 60 buses. The order volume for these vehicles is almost 40 million euros. Five of the new vehicles will be used in the Jever area, two in Rendsburg-Eckernförde.

The new buses of the type “H2 CityGold” are twelve metres long and have 34 seats and 47 standing places. The passenger compartment has no steps and offers a two-metre-wide space for wheelchairs. The vehicles can travel between 350 (winter) and 550 (summer) kilometres on one tank of hydrogen. Numerous electronic safety systems are installed in the buses, which, for example, warn of a possible collision with pedestrians or other road users.

Two predecessor versions of the buses now on order are already in operation at the DB subsidiary Autokraft as part of the hydrogen pioneer project eFarm in the Nordfriesland district. They refuel with hydrogen produced regionally by eFarm at filling stations in Husum and Niebüll and bring 100 percent emission-free mobility to the road. DB Regio Bus implements and plans more than 40 transport services and projects with climate-friendly drives, including battery buses, at more than 35 locations.