German Chancellor Enquires About a New Fuel Cell Bus

Trade fair

Ursus exhibits an electric service bus which has a range of 450 km due to the ZAwheel in-wheel hub motor with range extender

CEO Peter Fenkl (Ziehl-Abegg) has informed the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło about a new type of fuel cell bus at the industrial fair Hannover Messe. The reason for the visit was the German-Polish cooperation between Ziehl-Abegg and Ursus (Poland). The electric bus has a range of 450 km without recharging, and the battery only takes 8 minutes to charge completely. “Buses operating on scheduled services can double their range despite the fact that the battery packs are smaller than in the past”, says Peter Fenkl. The worldwide unprecedented 90 percent efficiency is achieved thanks to the in-wheel hub motors from Ziehl-Abegg.

Electro-mobility in the area of public passenger transport has already become firmly established in many cities. However, the existing operating range of electric buses is often perceived as being too small and the battery charge time as too long. These barriers to the introduction of all-electric vehicles in the market are countered by the use of range extenders. Diesel engines are a low-cost way of recharging the batteries but conflict with the concept of sustainability pursued by many local authorities and operators.

The range extender, in the form of a fuel cell, generates electricity from a rapidly rechargeable fuel whilst the vehicle is moving. The resultant waste heat can be recovered to heat the vehicle. Fuel cells do not produce any local emissions, are extremely quiet and when using "green" hydrogen are CO2-free. With range-extender the new city bus from Ursus have a range of approx. 450 kilometres. This is also made possible because the ZAwheel electric drive is positioned in the wheel hub itself. Dispensing with the need for "energy guzzlers" such as transmission and differential - the motor efficiency is a good 90 percent. This unprecedented level of efficiency is also felt to positive effect during braking when the ZAwheel recharges the batteries (recuperation).

Saving time with fuel cells: full charge in eight minutes

Another advantage of a fuel cell is the saving in time because a battery charge takes just eight minutes. So when it comes to range and refuelling time electric buses are in the same category as conventional diesel vehicles – but are extremely eco-friendly and quiet.

The electric bus from Ursus “City Smile” is twelve metres long. It has seating for 29 and standing room for 47 passengers. The maximum speed is 85 km/h. Fuel consumption is 6.8 kilograms of hydrogen per 100 kilometres. The in-wheel drives have a maximum output of 364 kW.

The fuel cell in the bus consists of two modules (30 kW) which are fully redundant. The maximum output is 60 kW. The hydrogen tank in each bus has a capacity of 30 kg at 350 bar.