According to a new EU directive, a large number of buses in regional public transport will have to drive with low or even zero emissions in the coming years.
The company Clean Logistics reacts to this together with the Uckermärkische Verkehrsgesellschaft and the state of Brandenburg. Thanks to a future-oriented concept, vehicles in an existing fleet can be converted to fuel cell hydrogen propulsion. The first climate-friendly converted shuttle buses in the Lower Oder Valley National Park are to be used in mid-2021.
Free travel for buses with environmentally friendly drives: The EU’s “Clean Vehicle Directive” stipulates that 45 percent of buses in regional public transport in Germany must be low-emission by the end of 2025, at least half of which should even have a completely emission-free drive feature. In order to improve the air quality in cities and regions and at the same time to strengthen climate protection, this guideline must be taken into account when awarding public transport contracts from mid-2021. However, it is also possible to convert buses from the existing fleet.
The Uckermärkische Verkehrsgesellschaft (UVG) and the state of Brandenburg reacted early and will use two correspondingly retrofitted buses in the Brandenburg Lower Oder Valley National Park for a shuttle service for visitors in the coming year. The partner in the implementation of the innovative technology is the company Clean Logistics, based in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which already has experience of successfully converting heavy diesel trucks to hydrogen hybrid drives and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has been.
“With the new regulation, we expect a boost with 33,000 buses in Germany”, say managing directors Dirk Lehmann and Dirk Graszt. Clean Logistics was founded in 2018 as a medium-sized joint venture by the companies Höpen and Hary to advance the development of alternative drives. Thanks to the pioneering spirit, it is now possible to install a fully electric drive train in the vehicles in addition to using the hydrogen fuel cell.
Such an FCEV (“Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle”) conversion of buses offers several advantages. Compared to a new building, a lot of resources are saved when converting, so this is the most economical and ecological solution. In addition, bus drivers don’t have to adjust to a new type of vehicle. Because at the moment there are no offers from the brands most frequently used in this country, so that if you buy a new bus you would first have to switch to other manufacturers. In addition, this solution enables large transport companies to convert their series vehicles themselves at their own depots. This secures jobs in these workshops and enables the companies to cope with larger quantities.
UVG and Clean Logistics are cooperating with well-known partners: the fuel cell, which has an on-board output of 60 kW, is supplied by the leading Chinese company Re-Fire Technology. The tank system comes from Hydac International, while the battery is made by the proven provider of electric mobility solutions eCap Mobility. eCap is a partner company of Clean Logistics and is based in Winsen an der Luhe.
The handover of the first two converted twelve-meter Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses will take place at the end of March and the end of June, so that the UVG can start the planned deployment in the floodplain landscape of the Lower Oder Valley National Park in the middle of next year. The visitors are then brought to the entrances by a climate-friendly bus shuttle and later driven back to their parking spaces or to the train station.
“As a ‘first mover’ together with the UVG and the state of Brandenburg, we offer a contribution to climate protection through a sustainable reduction in traffic emissions with the concept of alternative drive solutions,” said Clean Logistics Managing Directors Dirk Lehmann and Dirk Graszt. Transport companies that also want to convert their buses to an emission-free drive in accordance with the new “Clean Vehicle Directive” can apply for funding and a large part of the additional investment costs will be reimbursed.