Škoda Group presented the new Škoda H'CITY hydrogen bus, February 9, 2023, Pilsen.
Plzeň – Pilsen Škoda Group presented today in Pilsen the new Škoda H'CITY hydrogen bus. From the end of March, after the completion of homologation, it is to be tested at Barrandov in Prague, which will be the first to test the car. Other big cities have considerable interest. The testing will last up to two years, Petr Witowski, chairman of the board and general manager of the Transport Company of the Capital City of Prague (DPP), told ČTK today. Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) also inspected the car at the production plant in Pilsen.
“If there were more of those buses, we would be happy, because in addition to stationary filling technology, we will also be able to test mobile filling methods on them,” said Witowski. In addition to Škoda Group and DPP, Prague and Uniperol also participate in the project. He is responsible for the filling station they are now building on Barrandova. “We will start real testing of the car in a matter of weeks. We are curious to see how it will behave in real operating conditions. It is the future,” said Witowski. He hopes that the first passenger will start driving the bus already in the spring. DPP has rented a bus.
According to Petr Novotný, president of Components & Bus Mobility Škody Group, the price of the car varies between 600,000 and 700,000 euros (roughly 14.3 to 16.6 million CZK) and is more than double that of a diesel bus. “But this is not mass production, of course the price will go down with the quantity,” he said. The manufacturer registers great interest in the cars, so it starts working on other prototypes.
“It will undoubtedly be one of the important segments of future transport. And it is important news that it is a technology that is created in Czech heads through Czech hands,” said Kupka. According to him, the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport will be to ensure the infrastructure for filling hydrogen buses. “In the Transport operational program there are five billion for recharging infrastructure and one billion for filling hydrogen stations,” he said. Škoda Group president for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Tomáš Ignačák, hopes that thanks to Škoda's know-how, the first battery train will soon appear on the railway.
“We introduced the first hydrogen bus back in 2009, but at that time the company was not yet ready for the new technology,” said Novotný. According to the head of implementation, Radek Svoboda, the main technique is on the roof, in the front part of which there are five bottles, under a pressure of 35 atmospheres, 40 kilograms of pure hydrogen are transported. “This will be used for the operation of one normal working day, i.e. for a range of up to 400 kilometers. Most city lines will travel 250 to 350 kilometers,” he said. There is also a pivotal hydrogen cell under the roof that produces electricity to run the car. “And from him it already works like an electric bus,” he said. The bodywork is from the Turkish Temsa, which, like Škoda Group, is part of the PPF group.
“The car is undergoing operational tests, but the homologation procedure has not yet been completed. It will be in Prague at the end of March,” said Svoboda. According to him, all parts are subject to “horribly strict standards”, are tested by various crash tests and are highly oversized. That's why the development took three years.
“There is a lot of interest in hydrogen buses, Ostrava, Brno and Pilsen are interested in testing. The biggest problem is that there is no infrastructure,” said Svoboda. So far, the cost of an emission-free kilometer is twice that of regular buses, but within five years, according to Svoboda, the price of hydrogen should drop sharply. Škoda Group is preparing for three more prototypes, which will be completed in the first quarter of 2024. “We want to try more alternatives – different bodies and newer types of electrical engineering, i.e. converters and others,” he added. With serial production, the company will wait for larger orders, which was the same for electric buses.