Europe’s largest hybrid fuel cell bus fleet and first hydrogen infrastructure for public transport have been unveiled
The German transport company Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), representatives of the European Commission, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (known in German as BMVI) and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (RSK) district, officially introduced this exciting project at Meckenheim.
Meckenheim / Rhein-Sieg district. A bus fleet of 35 fuel cell hybrid buses and two hydrogen refuelling stations were presented to the public today. The launch at the Meckenheim site was a great milestone for the entire project. The industrial partners involved at the site were also present.
The RVK has been running on hydrogen since 2011. Thanks to the support of RVK’s shareholders, the then still visionary project was developed in several stages deploying first two prototypes, then two pre-series buses from 2014 to the current state: the largest fleet of fuel cell buses in Europe!
Bert Spilles, the Mayor of Meckenheim, together with Eugen Puderbach, the Managing Director of RVK, welcomed the numerous guests and expressed his thanks to the shareholders, sponsors, and partners. ‘I would like to thank my teammates as pioneers who recognised the value of this alternative fuel for effective climate action early on and dared to help shape the project together’, he said.
In cooperation with various industrial partners, a refuelling station in Meckenheim (AREVA consortium), a refuelling station in Wermelskirchen (Linde GmbH) and a total of 35 A330 fuel cell buses (Van Hool) for the RVK bus fleet will go into operation in 2020.
After the necessary training of driving personnel and final commissioning of the refuelling station, the first ten fuel cell hybrid buses will soon be in regular service in Meckenheim. The new refuelling station is ready for this purpose. In its current expansion stage, it will enable the daily refuelling of 20 fuel cell buses in two cycles of 10 vehicles each.
The remaining 25 buses are used at the RVK locations Wermelskirchen and Bergisch Gladbach in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and the city of Hürth.
‘The use of fuel cell buses represents a further, significant step towards improving the quality of public transport,’ said Sebastian Schuster, the District Administrator of the Rhein-Sieg district. ‘We are proud to be part of a pioneering role that is attracting attention throughout Europe and would like to encourage other regions to get on the road as well and thus make a substantial contribution to climate action’, he added.