According to a new EU directive, a large proportion of buses in regional public transport will have to run with low or even zero emissions in the coming years. The Clean Logistics company is responding to this together with the Uckermärkische Verkehrsgesellschaft and the state of Brandenburg. Thanks to a forward-looking concept, vehicles in an existing fleet can be converted to fuel cell hydrogen drive. The first climate-friendly converted shuttle buses are expected to be in use in the Lower Oder Valley National Park as early as mid-2021.
The EU's Clean Vehicle Directive stipulates that 45 percent of buses in Germany's regional public transport system must be low-emission by the end of 2025, and at least half of them must have a completely emission-free drive system. In order to improve air quality in cities and regions and at the same time strengthen climate protection, this directive must be taken into account when awarding public transport contracts as early as mid-2021. However, it is also possible to convert buses from the existing fleet.
The Uckermärkische Verkehrsgesellschaft (UVG) and the state of Brandenburg responded early on and will already be using two suitably converted buses in the Brandenburg Lower Oder Valley National Park next year for a shuttle service for visitors. The partner in the implementation of the innovative technology is Clean Logistics, a company based in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, which already has experience with the successful conversion of heavy diesel trucks to hydrogen hybrid propulsion and was funded in the process by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). "
We expect the new regulation to give a boost to 33,000 buses in operation in Germany," said managing directors Dirk Lehmann and Dirk Graszt. Clean Logistics was founded in 2018 as a medium-sized joint venture to drive forward the development of alternative drive systems. Now, thanks to its pioneering spirit, it is able to install a completely electric powertrain in its vehicles in addition to using hydrogen fuel cells.
Such an FCEV conversion ("Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle") of buses offers several advantages. For example, the conversion saves a lot of resources compared to building a new vehicle, making it the most economical and ecologically sound solution. In addition, bus drivers do not have to adapt to a new type of vehicle. This is because there are currently no offers from the brands most commonly used in this country, which means that if new buses were purchased, drivers would first have to switch to other manufacturers. In addition, this solution makes it possible for large transport companies to convert their series-produced vehicles themselves at a later date at their own depots. This secures jobs in these workshops and enables the companies to handle larger volumes.
UVG and Clean Logistics are cooperating here 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, and the battery is supplied by eCap Mobility, a proven provider of electric mobility solutions. eCap is a partner company of Clean Logistics and is based in Winsen an der Luhe.
The first two converted twelve-meter Mercedes- Benz Citaro buses will be handed over at the end of March and the end of June, so that the planned deployment by UVG can start in the middle of next year in the floodplain landscape of the Lower Oder Valley National Park. Visitors will then be taken to the entrances by climate-friendly bus shuttle and later driven back to their parking spaces or to the train station.
"As a 'first mover' together with UVG and the state of Brandenburg, we are offering a contribution to climate protection through a sustainable reduction in transport emissions with the concept of alternative drive solutions," say Clean Logistics managing directors Dirk Lehmann and Dirk Graszt. Transport companies that also want to convert their buses to zero-emission drive systems in accordance with the new "Clean Vehicle Directive" can apply for subsidies, and a large part of the additional investment costs will be reimbursed.