Van Hool and UTC Power have introduced Belgium’s first 13.2-meter (43-foot) fuel-cell hybrid-electric transit bus with a passenger capacity of 104. (Earlier post.) The HyFleet project has fielded hydrogen buses for a number of years across Europe, but those buses are slightly smaller—12-meter buses with passenger capacity between 70 and 83, depending upon the model.
The bus will be delivered to De Lijn, the largest bus fleet operator in Belgium, and will begin service in early June. It will operate in Belgium for six months before being leased to other transit agencies in Europe.
The hybrid is similar to fuel-cell hybrid buses from Van Hool and UTC rolled out in Hartford, Connecticut, Oakland and Palm Springs, California. (Earlier post.) With a 120 kW UTC fuel cell stack, the 40 kg of hydrogen stored onboard gives the bus a range of 350 km (217 miles). Sodium Nickel Chloride high-temperature (Zebra) batteries can store as much as 53 kWh of electrical energy and release up to 95 kW of power, enabling efficiency improvements through regenerative braking, while augmenting the 120 kW of power available from the fuel cell.
Van Hool Managing Director Leopold Van Hool said that by building a demonstration bus for the European market, Van Hool and UTC Power hope to advance the use of fuel cell hybrid-electric technology. The design of this new three-axle, low-floor bus is unique, allowing the increased capacity of up to 104 passengers within Europe’s stringent weight requirements. The new bus design also features a Van Hool roof-top cooling system and improved locations for drive components and fuel storage.
UTC Power has provided fuel cell power plants for fleet transportation since 1998 and its fuel cells have powered buses in the United States, Spain and Italy. UTC Power also is participating in three new zero-emission transit bus projects in California and Washington, D.C., as part of a Federal Transit Administration $49 million cost-shared program. (Earlier post.)
(A hat-tip to Marc!)