Deutsche Bahn AG has ordered 60 hydrogen buses from Portuguese manufacturer Caetanobus for its bus division DB Regio Bus which aims to phase out diesel vehicles by 2038.
The German state-owned railway operator has signed a framework agreement with Caetanobus worth nearly EUR 40 million (USD 42.4m).
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The buses will be delivered by 2026 with the first vehicles to run in the federal states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein at the beginning of 2024.
Deutsche Bahn board member Evelyn Palla stressed that hydrogen buses are climate-friendly and are refuelled faster than the batteries of electric buses are charged. With their long range, hydrogen buses can replace diesel vehicles, especially in rural areas, according to Palla.
The new H2 CityGold buses will be equipped with fuel cells from Toyota and have 34 seats and 47 standing places. A tank of hydrogen will be enough for the vehicles to run some 350 km in the winter and 550 km (341.8 mi) in the summer.
Two previous versions of the buses that have been ordered are already used by Deutsche Bahn's subsidiary Autokraft as part of the eFarm hydrogen project in the Nordfriesland municipality in Schleswig-Holstein. They are powered with hydrogen produced locally by eFarm.
DB Regio Bus is the largest provider of bus services in Germany with about 470 million passengers a year.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.062)