City Bus Concept Designs at InnoTrans 2018

The Innotrans Exhibition in Berlin, Germany has always been known as a big shindig for all things railroad. Steel wheel on steel rail and related items, that sort of thing. The last few times however, InnoTrans has included city buses. Apparently the only major requirement to participate is, that the buses have alternative propulsion. Obviously I am a big rail fan. I would rather walk 20 minutes to catch a tram or a train, than ride a bus from a much closer stop.

So it is reluctantly that I must admit to a certain fascination and intrigue with the buses on display this time around. I am not sure why that was the case: Perhaps the eerie quietness due to the electric propulsion with which the vehicles moved about. Or maybe it was the interior design with lots of window area, comfortable seats and low floor ingress and egress. Or more mundanely, living in the US, I am just not used to nice buses.

Be that as it may, here are some photographs and a short video clip of the InnoTrans 2018 bus display.

DSC00455.jpgA two car unit for the STAR metro system in the French city of Rennes. I suppose technically it would be a bus. Built by Siemens, it is totally autonomous. The two car units can be expanded to three car units if so desired.


Van Hool of Belgium showed off their hydrogen fuel cell powered city bus. Apparently the German cities of Köln and Wuppertal ordered about 50 of these. The range for this bus is about 350 to 400 kilometers. The hydrogen will be produced using wind generated electricity.

DSC00469.jpgDSC00467.jpgThe tank filling valve.

DSC00471.jpgA Solaris Urbino 12 electric bus for the Frankfurt am Main public transport operator.

A “design study” for a city bus by the Columbus Concept Cluster eBus Group:

DSC00478.jpgdsc00480.jpgDSC00481.jpgThis group attempts to redefine what a city bus should be like, using the latest available technology. LED lighting, USB ports, WiFi, seating and climate control, as well as ride comfort, have all been rethought. This concept bus runs on battery electric, with a rapid pantograph charging station at each end of the line.

A Sileo battery electric bus.




IMG_4138.jpegA “plain” Solaris trolley bus with battery capability to run without wires.

A bus charging unit from Wabtec:

DSC00484.jpgThis unit lowers to connect to contacts on the bus roof for rapid charging. Other bus manufactures have opted for a pantograph which raises from the bus roof into a charging unit, like this ÜSTRA bus in Hannover:


Wkimedia Commons Photo

The Alstom “Aptis” electric bus. Several of these are in passenger revenue service for testing in Paris. These buses have four wheel steering and are shorter than conventional buses, however still with the same passenger capacity. Climate control, USB and WiFi are on board. These buses can be recharged at the end of the line in five minutes.



For my short video click here.

All photographs by Ralf Meier, unless otherwise stated. (Sony a6500 and iPhone X)

©Ralf Meier (trainphilos)

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