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HANNOVER MESSE 2017 gave Ziehl-Abegg's CEO Peter Fenkl the opportunity to present an innovative fuel cell bus to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Partner Country Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydło. The electric bus resulting from the collaboration between Ziehl-Abegg and Ursus from Germany and Poland respectively has an operating range of 450 kilometers without recharging. What's more, the charging process takes just eight minutes. The efficiency of over 90 percent achieved thanks to Ziehl-Abegg’s in-wheel hub motors will be globally unprecedented. "Buses operating on scheduled services can double their range despite the fact that the battery packs are smaller than in the past," said Fenkl.

The City Smile electric bus from Ursus is twelve meters long, with a seating capacity of 29 and a standing capacity of 47. It has a maximum output of 364 kW, a top speed of 85 km/h and a fuel consumption of around 6.8 kilograms of hydrogen per 100 kilometers. With a range extender in the form of a fuel cell, the Ursus bus generates electricity from the rapidly rechargeable fuel while on the move. The resultant waste heat can also be used to heat the vehicle on cold days. Fuel cells do not produce any local emissions, are extremely quiet and, when using "green" hydrogen, even enable completely CO2-free operation. With the range extender on show in Hannover, the new buses have a range of some 450 kilometers. Ziehl-Abegg's ZAwheel electric motor is located in the wheel hub itself, which is key to this impressive operating range. Dispensing with the need for "energy guzzlers" such as transmission and differential boosts the drive's efficiency to over 90 percent. Recuperation technology that recharges the batteries during braking is a contributing factor to this.