Europe’s largest operator of long-distance bus travel, the FlixBus brand, and global technology specialist Freudenberg Sealing Technologies are working on a future-oriented project for sustainable, CO2-free mobility. The two companies will put hydrogen fuel cell coaches on the road, and will further extend their partnership in the near future through participation from a bus manufacturer.
“We want to help shape the future of mobility,” said Fabian Stenger, Managing Director of FlixBus DACH. “The modern FlixBus and FlixTrain fleet is already extremely environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, we are constantly asking ourselves how we can make travel even more sustainable and further reduce CO2 emissions per capita. Following the successful launch of three electric long-distance buses, we now want to develop the first long-distance bus with hydrogen fuel cell drive together with Freudenberg and set another milestone in the history of mobility.”
Against the background of ever-stricter CO2 limits, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has been helping car and commercial vehicle manufacturers address fuel consumption and emissions requirements with innovative sealing solutions for decades. At the same time, the Freudenberg Group began researching alternative drive concepts as early as the mid-1990s, developing technically sophisticated components for fuel cells.
“The technical requirements for performance and long-term reliability are particularly high in heavy-duty businesses. This is in line with our technological and innovation expertise,” explained Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “We see the fuel cell as an integral part of the mobility of the future. With FlixBus, we have found a partner for this zero-emission application and are looking forward to working together on this groundbreaking project.”
FlixBus has clearly defined the requirement profile for its vehicles. Performance characteristics such as acceleration should correspond to those of today’s diesel-powered, long-distance buses that are compliant to the Euro IV standard. These fuel cell vehicles should cover at least 500 kilometers of continuous use without refueling. Hydrogen refueling, itself, should be possible in 20 minutes or less – a time similar to what is required to refill a diesel fuel tank.
The hybrid system, which intelligently combines battery and fuel cells, can be used in long-distance bus transportation and heavy commercial vehicle applications. Initially, a representative bus fleet of 30 vehicles will be equipped with a hybrid powertrain to validate system performance. The two companies are also aiming for public funding within the framework of the German “National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology” (NIP). The aim is to ensure that this technology quickly reaches market maturity and thus makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
Source: Freudenberg Sealing Technologies