Hamburger Hochbahn launches tender for fuel cell buses


The German Hamburger Hochbahn has launched a tender for the supply of up to 50 fuel cell buses between 2021 and 2025. The invitation to tender covers four lots for different vehicle types.

Hamburger Hochbahn wants to purchase pure fuel cell buses, but is also interested in electric buses in which the fuel cell serves as a range extender. Both solo and articulated buses will be tendered for both technical solutions. The minimum range defined in the specifications is 300 kilometres for the solo buses and 230 kilometres for the articulated buses.

As the Hamburg-based company now writes in a press release, the invitation to tender was preceded by a Europe-wide selection procedure in which manufacturers were able to qualify for participation in the tender. How many and which suppliers made it into the selection and are now being invited by Hochbahn to submit bids is not mentioned: “for reasons of competition”. “Further details can only be provided here once the contract has been awarded”, says Hochbahn.

In its press release, the public transport operator reiterates its goal of phasing out its diesel buses by the end of the decade. These are to be replaced by battery and fuel cell buses. Last summer, Hochbahn published the specifications for the procurement of the electric buses, which call for a minimum range of 200 kilometres for solo buses and 150 kilometres for articulated electric buses. Up to 530 electric buses could be put out to tender by 2025.

At the same time, this figure also includes hydrogen buses, as the specifications expressly left the operator the strategic option open of purchasing pure hydrogen buses or those with fuel cells as range extenders. Already in 2019, it was said that the public transport provider wanted to initiate an open qualification system for the procurement of fuel cell buses and now that time has come.

The Hochbahn already has some experience with fuel cell buses as they already have two battery buses with hydrogen range extenders in regular service, and the Hamburg company has also tested fuel cell hybrid buses in a project with Daimler. The four Mercedes H2 buses in use were returned to the manufacturer at the beginning of 2019 when the project was completed. However, the Hamburgers subsequently expressed interest in the Mercedes eCitaro G articulated bus with fuel cell as a range extender – it is therefore quite possible that Daimler buses won the pre-selection.

hochbahn.de (in German)


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