After launching a new line of buses at the Hanover fair last September, Polish bus maker Solaris plans to make a 24 meter long (79 foot) electric bus that also uses fuel cells for power.
The train of a bus will be jointly developed with the Poznań University of Technology and Warsaw University of Technology. They will tap a 1.5 million euros (about $1.7 million) grant from the Polish government’s Inno-Tech program.
The Urbino electric buses can be charged in a variety of ways, so that they could be adapted to the existing conditions of the service line. For one, the buses can be charged via plug-in, like most existing EVs.
Bus operators will also have the option to install pick-up coils under the buses so that they could be charged via inductive charging. In this way, the batteries can be charged at designated slots at the bus terminal, or even at bus stops along the route.
Yet another option is overhead charging, which unlike the traditional trams, will be connected at the end of the line or at designated bus stops.
The most interesting option, however, is the fuel cell option. The main means of propulsion are still electric motors connected to batteries, but the batteries will be charged using hydrogen fuel cells. The bus can be loaded with hydrogen back at the depot once a day, with enough fuel to let it run for 300 kms (186 mi).
It will be like the Tesla of buses as the drivers will also have a touch screen panel that “which in addition to the basic parameters display information about the state of the electric system and the battery charge level. Integrated into the touch screens are controls for the heating and other vehicle functions. This intuitive and easy-to-use system allows drivers to concentrate on driving without distractions.”
While the Polish company is not alone in making electric buses, their hydrogen fuel cell play is something interesting. Let’s see if other companies miss the bus if they don’t pick up on this.