Ballard Power Systems has received a letter of intent from Van Hool NV, a bus OEM partner based in Belgium, for 40 FCveloCity-HD fuel cell engines to power buses under the Joint Initiative For Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE) funding program.
The buses are expected to be the first fuel cell bus deployments supported under JIVE I, according to Ballard. Europe’s JIVE funding programs are intended to pave the way to the commercialization of fuel cell electric buses. The JIVE I program targets the deployment of 139 fuel cell buses in nine locations, and the JIVE II program targets a further deployment of 152 buses in 14 locations – for a total of 291 fuel cell buses to be deployed in European cities.
The 40 buses will be powered by Ballard FCveloCity-HD 85 kW fuel cell engines, which Ballard expects to receive a purchase order for and to begin shipping in the second half of this year. Van Hool plans to deploy 30 of these buses with the Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH transit agency in the city of Cologne, Germany, and plans to deploy the remaining 10 buses with WSW mobil GmbH transit agency in Wuppertal, Germany, with deliveries expected to begin in 2019.
“There is momentum in the growing global deployments of fuel cell technology for heavy-duty transportation applications,” states Rob Campbell, Ballard’s chief commercial officer. “Where transit buses and other heavy vehicles are typically characterized by high utilization rates together with the need for rapid refueling, fuel cell electric platforms are an especially attractive zero-emission alternative. We are very pleased with this progress and expect to begin work soon with Van Hool in fulfilling initial buses under the JIVE I program, in addition to the engines we announced last September for use in Van Hool tram-buses planned for deployment in Pau, France.”
The company notes it seven generations of FCveloCity fuel cell engines have been deployed in buses in 15 countries on five continents during the past 10 years.
Results of the JIVE programs are expected to demonstrate the technical readiness of fuel cell buses to bus operators and the economic viability of hydrogen as a zero-emission bus fuel to policy makers. These programs are supported by a total of EUR 57 million in grants from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.