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Proton Motor Previews “Triple-Hybrid” Electric Drive Passenger Bus

Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, a subsidiary of Proton Power Systems plc, a designer, developer and producer of fuel cells and fuel cell electric hybrid systems, has previewed the first passenger bus using the company’s “triple-hybrid” fuel cell system. The presentation took place in Puchheim, near Munich on 8 May, with an official unveiling and handover to take place this summer in Prague.

The new vehicle is the product of a cooperation agreement between Skoda Electric, UJV Nuclear Research Institute Rez plc and Proton Motor. As a manufacturer of trolley buses and electric-powered rail vehicles, Skoda Electric was responsible for the vehicle, including its electric drive system and system integration. The project was coordinated by UJV, a leading research institution in the Czech Republic. Proton Motor supplied the propulsion system.

The PM Basic A 50 stack. Click to enlarge.

The triple-hybrid system combines a 50 kW PM Basic A 50 fuel cell system, battery pack and ultra-capacitors. Factoring in regenerative braking as well, the system enables energy savings of more than 50% compared to a conventional diesel bus, according to Proton, while being emissions-free in operation.

The basic vehicle is a 12-meter standard bus with a total permissible weight of 18 tonnes. The propulsion system’s nominal output is 120 kW (163 hp). Maximum speed is 65 km/h (40 mph), while its maximum range during urban transport is more than 250 km (155 miles) per tank. The bus carries 20 kg of compressed gaseous hydrogen at 350 bar, and the filling process takes less than 10 minutes. The vehicle will go into operation in and around Prague from mid-2009 onwards.

The PM Basic A 50 fuel cell system has also been in use since last year in the EU-funded ZEMship (Zero Emission Ships) project, applied in the fuel cell-powered passenger ferry, the FCS Alsterwasser. (Earlier post.)

In 2007, Proton Motor introduced a triple-hybrid forklift system. Designed as a “plug-and-drive” technology, the PM Package MH 30 system combines a 10 kW fuel cell, battery and supercapacitors. (Earlier post.)

In 2008, Proton Motor and AVL List GmbH signed a framework contract to collaborate on the development of fuel cell hybrid systems for powertrains as well as related measurement and diagnostic technology. AVL serves as the powertrain engineering and measurement technology provider while Proton Motor is the PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell system provider. (Earlier post.)


Will S

Interesting combination that gets around the surge issue with fuel cells with battery packs and UCs, though they don't mention the capacity of the latter two or mention whether or not they are plugin. Calling it a triple-hybrid is stretching it a bit, though we'll see how the common vernacular develops around combinations of technologies like these.


Does the bus have a price?


According to an announcement on their site.

"Skoda Electric was responsible for the vehicle, including its electric drive system and system integration."


It sounds like they make fuel cells and not the buses. The bus people would have to quote a price.


I don't consider batteries and u-caps different enough to call this a triple hybrid.

In any case, hydrogen makes no sense as a fuel for a vehicle.

A better choice for a triple hybrid would be electricity/gasoline-ethanol/and renewable methane.

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