Cologne to see 18 hydrogen bendy buses by Solaris in RKV service

Cologne’s regional transport company RVK has contracted Solaris to supply 18 articulated hydrogen buses starting in summer 2024. The vehicles will serve on RVK routes in the greater Cologne/Bonn area and are part of a major FCEV roll out in the region.

For the operator RVK, this is the first order for the articulated bus from the Polish manufacturer. The Urbino 18 Hydrogen is also the latest Solaris model launched only in September 2022 and RVK already had one to test.

With its 51.2-kilogram hydrogen tanks, the bendy bus can travel up to 350 kilometres, and a refuelling process should take around 20 minutes, according to the manufacturer. The fuel cells, which Solaris buys from Ballard, have an output of 100 kW. A 60 kWh battery supports the fuel cell at high power demand and is also used for energy recovery during braking. Depending on the configuration, the new articulated bus offers space for up to 140 passengers.

Currently, the RVK fleet comprises 72 hydrogen buses, including 35 fuel cell solo buses from Solaris, the Urbino 12 Hydrogen. Further H2 buses have been ordered from Wrightbus, and 35 buses from Van Hool are already in service. In April 2022, Regionalverkehr Köln had received a funding notification from the federal government for 108 fuel cell buses, including 29 articulated models.

For Solaris, this is the third order of the carrier Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH for hydrogen buses and exceeds an option for 40 FCEVs RKV reserved when being granted federal funding.

“Thanks to the funding from the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport and the speedy tendering process, we are making great strides towards our goal of zero emissions,” said Marcel Frank, managing director of RVK said at the time

Olivier Michard, Solaris Board Member for Sales, commented today, the Cologne and Bonn area was becoming a “European leader in the use of hydrogen technology in public transportation. Starting with the first Urbino hydrogen ordered in 2020, we have initiated a partnership with RVK that sets new standards for European carriers”.


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