In recent years, Solaris has emerged as a trailblazer in the deployment of hydrogen technology within the public transport sector.
With an impressive clientele of 40 operators spanning 10 European countries, the manufacturer has solidified its position as a leader in the field, having received orders for over 700 vehicles.
The star of Solaris’ hydrogen-powered fleet is the Urbino hydrogen bus, which has garnered widespread acclaim for its innovative design and environmental benefits.
The journey began with the development of a 12-metre prototype, powered exclusively by a hydrogen fuel cell, subsequently launched in 2019.
Building on this success, Solaris introduced an articulated 18-metre version, further expanding its appeal to European towns and cities.
To date, the company has delivered nearly 200 hydrogen-powered vehicles, with an additional 500 currently in the pipeline.
Hydrogen buses now constitute a significant share in the manufacturer’s production mix, showcasing the growing acceptance of this eco-friendly technology.
In a testament to Solaris’ prowess, the company secured several prestigious orders in the past months.
Notably, the municipal public transport operator TPER in Bologna signed the largest-ever single contract in Europe for the delivery of 130 Urbino 12 hydrogen buses, with the option to extend the order by an additional 140 vehicles.
Similarly, Azienda Veneziana della Mobilita in Italy placed an order for 90 Urbino hydrogen buses, including both 12-metre and articulated units.
German carrier RVK Köln also reaffirmed its commitment to Solaris hydrogen buses, adding 18 articulated vehicles to its existing fleet of 35, equipped with cutting-edge driver assistance systems.
Recognizing the growing demand for hydrogen-powered vehicles, the company has invested in expanding its H2O-related business activities.
The construction of the Hydrogen Hall, dedicated to hydrogen drivelines, is a testament to the company’s commitment to sustainable transportation.
Market data reflects the surge in popularity of this buses.
In 2022, 99 hydrogen buses were registered for public transport in Europe, and by the end of the third quarter of 2023, this figure had increased to 137, marking a substantial 38% rise from the previous year.
These figures indicate a significant shift towards zero-emission buses, aligning with ambitious emission reduction goals set by European countries.
The European Council and Parliament’s current position mandates that all new city buses in the EU must be 100% zero-emission by 2035, driving the adoption of hydrogen buses as a viable solution to meet these targets and improve urban air quality.
To support the increasing demand for hydrogen buses, the infrastructure is rapidly expanding.
Currently, over 230 hydrogen refuelling stations are operational, with an additional 120 under construction.
The AFIR Regulation, set to take effect in April, will further mandate the deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations at a maximum distance of 200 km along key EU transport corridors by 2030.
The appeal of hydrogen lies not only in its status as a clean energy source with zero carbon emissions but also in its long ranges, high energy density, fast refuelling capabilities, and the flexibility it offers in managing a fleet of hydrogen vehicles.
Solaris, however, aspires to be more than just a manufacturer.
It aims to be a pivotal partner in implementing hydrogen technology across public transport systems, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.