The German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) has announced an additional step towards achieving its goal of becoming a climate-neutral company by 2050. DB has signed a framework agreement with Portuguese manufacturer Caetanobus to purchase 60 hydrogen-powered buses by 2026, marking the first time that DB Regio Bus has ordered a significant number of hydrogen buses.
The new buses, which will be supplied with fuel cells from Toyota, will start running in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in early 2024. DB’s ultimate goal is to phase out its diesel buses by 2038 and to operate all newly acquired buses in an emission-free manner within seven years. With around 470 million passengers per year, DB Regio Bus is the largest provider of transportation services in Germany.
According to Evelyn Palla, Board Member for Regional Transport at DB AG, hydrogen-powered buses have a significant advantage over battery electric buses in terms of refuelling time. Palla said, “Hydrogen buses are climate-friendly and have another advantage: they can be refuelled more quickly than a pure electric bus can be charged. With their high range, hydrogen buses are particularly well suited to replace existing diesel vehicles in rural areas. With the order of 60 hydrogen buses, we are taking another step towards saying goodbye to diesel.”
The new buses, known as the H2 CityGold, are 12 meters long and have 34 seats and 47 standing places. The passenger area is step-free and provides a two-meter-wide space for wheelchairs. With a full tank of hydrogen, the buses can travel between 350 kilometers in Winter and 550 kilometers in Summer. The buses also feature numerous electronic safety systems that can warn of potential collisions with pedestrians or other road users.
Caetanobus will supply the 60 buses under the framework agreement with an order value of almost 40 million euros. The buses refuel with hydrogen produced regionally by eFarm at filling stations, providing 100% emission-free mobility. DB Regio Bus is implementing and planning more than 40 services and projects with climate-friendly propulsion systems at over 35 locations, including battery electric buses.