More than 370 people came to the city of Cologne to attend the European Zero Emission Bus Conference, or ZEB for short. The event, which took place from Nov. 27 through Nov. 28, 2018, was a follow-up to the initial conference in London in 2016 and gave attendees the opportunity to keep up with advancements in fuel cell bus technology and tout upcoming projects.
But the main question, like elsewhere, was where the buses will come from (see p. 32).
That Cologne was hosting the second ZEB was little surprising given the fact that electric vehicles have become a common sight along the Rhine river. At present, the city’s transportation company, Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe, owns one of Germany’s largest fleet of electric buses and is planning to increase their numbers further. Its 2020 aim is to have 150 electric wheel loaders, forklift trucks and small and large street sweepers, as well as 50 or so buses, in operation. To do that, it will reportedly invest more than EUR 40 million.
What’s more, the transit company serving the region around Cologne, Regionalverkehr Köln, signed a deal with Van Hool last year to purchase 30 fuel cell buses. The agreement was hailed as the largest order for these kinds of vehicles in Europe, since transit and utility corporation Wuppertaler Stadtwerke had gotten involved as well, ordering another 10 buses. The A330 units, equipped with Ballard stacks, are slated for delivery this spring.
“The acquisition of an additional 30 fuel cell hybrid buses is a show of our unwavering commitment, and that of our partners, to zero-emission mass transit in our service area.”
Eugen Puderbach, chief executive of Regionalverkehr Köln
read more in H2-international April 2019
Written by Sven Geitmann