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Rome fails to procure fuel cell buses


Rome’s transport company ATAC has failed to procure hydrogen buses. Somehow, not a single bid was submitted for a tender for five H2 buses published in February 2020. And this is not the first time: At the beginning of 2019 another hydrogen bus tender for Rome was equally unsuccessful.

What went wrong? It is not yet clear exactly why no bids were made for the tender that had a starting price of four million euros. The arrival of hydrogen buses would take place as part of the European 3eMotion project that includes 21 companies from six European countries. The goal of the project is to gain experience with the use of hydrogen bus technology through the operation of small pilot fleets.

Other places in Europe – and elsewhere in Italy – have not had the same problems it seems. In March this year, we reported about Denmark using the same EU 3eMotion project scheme to purchase 3 fuel cell buses from Van Hool with Ballard fuel cell technology. Other places in Italy have also had more success. Last year, close to the Austrian border in Italy, Bolzano public transport provider SASA Bolzano ordered 12 newly launched Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses. It seems SASA Bolzano is indeed committed to the transport energy transition and has already carried out an experiment with five Mercedes Citaro fuel cell buses as part of the EU-funded CHIC (Clean Hydrogen in European Cities) project. The vehicles are still in operation. And the hydrogen-powered Citaro is still in service today also in Milan for ATM.

In terms of getting fuel cell buses on the streets, with their superior ranges and short refuelling times, the UK, for example, also seems to be making good progress. In summer last year the city of Aberdeen ordered 15 fuel cell double-decker buses which should start quietly traversing the city this summer. For Wrightbus who will supply the fuel cell buses, this is not the first large order by any means. Earlier in 2019, London’s public transport operator Transport for London ordered 20 fuel cell buses worth £12 million from the Irish company.


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