European buses steer towards zero emission fuel cells

January 31, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
The drive for cleaner, greener public transport in Europe through switching buses to zero emission fuel cell technologies continues to advance.

Poland's Solaris Bus & Coach, one of the leaders in the European bus industry, has signed an equipment supply agreement with Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems for delivery of two zero emission fuel cell power modules to be used in buses planned for deployment in Hamburg, Germany.

On the face of it the Hamburg deal does not seem huge but it gives Ballard a strategic edge because Solaris manufactures intracity, intercity and special-purpose buses as well as low-floor trams and deploys more than 10,000 vehicles in 28 countries, including Poland, Germany, Norway, France, Sweden, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates. The scope for future growth is clear.

Ballard's fuel cell power modules will be utilized as range extenders, in combination with batteries, in Solaris electric bus platforms. Ballard's next-generation FCvelocityœ-HD7 modules claim to offer improved durability, reliability together with cost reduction in comparison to the previous generation product. Ballard plans to deliver the FCvelocityœ-HD7 power modules to Solaris later in 2014.

Dariusz Michalak, Solaris Deputy CEO and CTO said, "We are very pleased to be working with Ballard on these buses for the European market. Ballard's fuel cell range extenders are compact, deliver the highest performance and offer great lifetime."

"It is Hamburg's challenging goal as of 2020 not to buy any conventional diesel buses anymore. During the CUTE and HyFLEET/CUTE programs there was already a
successful collaboration with Ballard, which we will now continue," explained Günter Elste, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG.

"This contract is further evidence of growing interest in the deployment of zero emission fuel cell buses in Europe," commented John Sheridan, Ballard's President and CEO.

Ballard's current generation fuel cell power module has been delivering a high level of performance in European buses. Last year Ballard fuel cell modules delivered greater than 97% availability in buses currently operating in London and Amsterdam.

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