Solaris places fuel cell module follow-up order with Ballard

Ballard Power Systems has received another large order for fuel cell modules from the Polish bus manufacturer Solaris. The new order comprises 177 modules, with delivery scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2026.

Image: Solaris

In a press release, Ballard also states where the buses with the new fuel cells on board will be used in the future: 127 of the 177 ordered fuel cell modules will be used in the Solaris H2 buses for the Italian city of Bologna, the remaining 50 will be used in other Solaris fuel cell buses in Germany and Italy.

Solaris had already ordered 96 fuel cell modules from Ballard in August, bringing the total number of units ordered this year to 273. This represents “substantial growth over the more than 140 fuel cell city buses that Solaris has deployed with customers in Europe to date”, the Canadian company wrote.

The Polish bus manufacturer had presented the current generation of its twelve-metre solo bus with fuel cell, the Urbino 12 hydrogen, in 2019. The market launch of the BZ articulated bus Urbino 18 hydrogen did not take place until September 2022. Slightly different fuel cell systems are used in the two vehicles: according to Solaris, hydrogen fuel cell units with 70 kW are installed in the twelve-metre version, while 100 kW are available in the longer version.

“We’re thrilled to see the continued success of our partner Solaris as they secure tender wins for fuel cell city bus deployments in Europe, further validating the value proposition of hydrogen-fueled buses to transit operators in the region,” said David Mucciacciaro, Ballard’s chief commercial officer. There is growing interest in Europe for larger deployments of zero-emission fuel cell electric buses that offer a range, refuelling time and operating rhythm consistent with the experience of conventional diesel buses, while avoiding the challenges and costs associated with scaling the recharging infrastructure for larger fleets of battery-powered electric buses, he added.

We recently reported on a large order from Bologna: In late summer, the Italian public transport operator Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia-Romagna (TPER) ordered 130 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses – 127 for the greater Bologna area and three for the city of Ferrara. The first 37 of the 130 hydrogen buses on firm order are to be delivered in 2024, the rest in 2025 and 2026. The contract also includes an option for 140 more H2 buses, which can be drawn by 2025.

The 50 additional modules will be installed in Solaris H2 buses for other customers in Italy and Germany. Ballard did not go into further detail on the other customers in the announcement.


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