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Austria Public Transportation

Austria will invest $250 million for zero-emission buses, opening opportunities for battery-powered & hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, parts & services.

Austria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, an EU-funded instrument to respond to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, aims to facilitate green and digital transition initiatives in line with the EU’s environmental objectives. A major focus of the plan will finance $960 million in zero-emission mobility projects.

The first tranche will be spent on the procurement of an estimated 600 zero-emission buses for public transit and the related infrastructure at a cost of $285 million, of which $160 million is allocated for 2022. Public grants for the acquisition of full battery electric buses, hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and overhead wire electric buses will be allocated by the Austrian government based on proposals from eligible Austrian entities, including bus operators, transportation infrastructure companies, and public transit providers.

This spending is driven by Austria’s adoption of the EU Clean Vehicle Directive (CVD). The Austrian national implementing regulation of this EU Directive mandates that, starting in 2021, 45% of all publicly procured public transit buses must meet the standard of a “clean bus,” defined as running on electricity, hydrogen, biofuel, synthetic fuel, natural gas or LPG. It further requires that half of these be zero-emission vehicles. Starting in Q2 of 2026, the mandate for “clean bus” procurement jumps to 65%, again with at least one-half required to be zero emission vehicles. According to the regulation, at least 650 emission-free transit buses must be on the road by Q2 of 2026.    

Here are some projects we expect to benefit from the new EU funding:

  • Austria’s largest public bus transit provider, Postbus, conducted a pilot project for hydrogen fuel cell buses in the city of Graz in 2019. As this project scales up, Postbus, which is owned by Austrian Federal Railway, is expected to invest extensively in buses, electrolysis and refueling stations.
  • In cooperation with Postbus, the province of Carinthia launched “H2 Carinthia” in 2020 to encourage zero-emission public bus transit using locally produced green hydrogen. Five hydrogen fuel cell buses have been purchased by the consortium thus far, with plans to significantly expand the project.
  • Vienna’s city utility (Wien Energie) has built the city’s first refueling station for hydrogen buses and trucks in 2021, with others expected to follow as the number of hydrogen buses increases.
  • Vienna’s public transit provider (Wiener Linien) announced a transition to a fleet of more than 400 zero-emission buses, to begin immediately and pick up speed starting in 2026, when they will stop purchasing combustion engine vehicles.

Opportunities exist for companies offering battery-powered and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, parts, and services, as well as refueling stations, equipment, hydrogen production and storage, and other infrastructure.

Public procurement in Austria, as in most countries, can be difficult to navigate. To be successful, here are two useful tips: First, make sure the purchasing entity identifies your company as a potential supplier when they conduct their pre-tender research. Bids from companies not pre-qualified as a potential supplier will not be considered. Second, U.S. companies must demonstrate both commitment and reliability. This will mean either establishing an entity in Austria or finding a local agent or distributor that is known to the purchasing entity.

For more information about opportunities in the cleantech and renewables sector in Austria, please contact Marta Haustein, Senior Commercial Specialist at Commercial Service Vienna at marta.haustein@trade.gov.

04/25/2022