A new solar bus is now in use in Hornstein, Burgenland (Eastern Austria), which is operated by an electric motor. The Technical University in Graz and several companies in Burgenland have been involved in the project.
The solar bus, which has 68-horse power, can drive without making any sound. The power for the electric motor comes from the photovoltaic systems, which can harness the power of the sun both on the roof of the bus as well as on the roof of its garage.
Thanks to its lightweight construction, the nine-seater vehicle does not weigh more than a comparable vehicle with a diesel engine, says Stefan Kutsenits, a bus constructor from Hornstein.
The sun energy is stored in two exchangeable batteries. When one is in use, the other is loaded. Therefore, in principle, the bus can drive for an unlimited distance without having charging breaks.
Governor Hans Niessl (SPÖ) believes that the future of public transport in Burgenland could look like this. If the pilot project proves successful, then he can imagine that other areas will follow the example of Hornstein.
The solarbus will serve the entire area of Hornstein in the coming eight months. It will be decided next year as to whether the project, which has cost more than half a million Euros, is also suitable for mass production.