Ursus-Bus with Range Extender: A public bus with the ZAwheel wheel hub motor covers up to 450 km electrically

Chairman of the board Peter Fenkl (ZIEHL-ABEGG) informed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło of a new fuel cell bus at the Hanover trade fair. The reason for this meeting was the German-Polish cooperation between ZIEHL-ABEGG and Ursus (Poland). The electrical bus can cover 450 kilometres without charging; it can fuel up in 8 minutes. “Public buses can double their reach even through the battery packs are smaller than ever,” explains Fenkl. The globally unique efficiency of about 90 percent is made possible by the ZIEHL-ABEGG wheel hub motors.

Electromobility in public short-distance passenger transport

Electromobility in public short-distance passenger transport (ÖPNV) is already established in many cities. The ranges possible to date for electrical buses are often perceived as too short, the charging times as too long, so far. These obstacles to market introduction of fully electrical vehicles are countered, for example, with range extenders. Diesel units for charging batteries are cost-efficient, but contrary to the sustainable concepts of many municipalities and operators.
The range extender fuel cell produces power from a fuel that can be fuelled up quickly during the drive. The arising exhaust heat can be used to heat the vehicle. Fuel cells cause no local emissions, are extremely low noise and free of CO2 when using “green” hydrogen. Range extenders make the new public buses by Ursus and HyMove cover about 450 kilometres in one go. This is also made possible by putting the ZAwheel electric motor right in the wheel hub, dispensing with “energy-gobblers” such as gears and differentials. The drive has an efficiency in excess of 90 percent. This previously unachieved efficiency has a positive effect when breaking as well, since the ZAwheel will then recharge the batteries (recuperation).

Saving time with a fuel cell: fuelling up in only eight minutes

The benefit of a fuel cell is a time-saving one as well. Fuelling up takes no more than eight minutes. Electrical buses are thus moving into the same category as conventional diesel vehicles where range and fuelling times are concerned – but they are much more economically compatible and quiet.
The “City Smile” electrical bus by Ursus is twelve metres long. It has 29 seats and 47 standing places, at a maximum speed of 85 km/h. It needs 6.8 kilograms of hydrogen per 100 kilometres. The wheel hub drives have a maximum power of 364 kW.
The fuel cell in the bus is made of two modules (30 kW each) that are completely redundant. The maximum output is 60 kW. The hydrogen tank in each bus can hold 30 kilograms at 350 bar.


450 kilometres of electric bus operation, followed by eight minutes of refuelling – impressive technology was presented at the Hanover trade fair. The prominent visitors: Andrzej Zarajczyk (chairman of the supervisory board of Ursus), Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and ZIEHL-ABEGG’s chairman of the board Peter Fenkl. In the background: EU-commissioner Günther Oettinger, Lower Saxony’s Minister President Stephan Weil and Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka.