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European bus manufacturers underline commitment to commercializing fuel cell electric buses

Five major European bus manufacturers—Daimler Buses (EvoBus), MAN, Solaris, Van Hool and VDL Bus & Coach—last week signed a joint Letter of Understanding at the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking’s (FCH JU) Stakeholders Forum in Brussels. The Letter underlines the commitment of bus manufacturers towards the commercialisation and market introduction of fuel cell electric buses in urban public transport.

The fuel cells and hydrogen technology is one of our important strategic development fields in the passenger car and urban bus business units.

—Gustav Tuschen, Head of Product Engineering at Daimler Buses

The signing bus manufacturers say that fuel cell buses offer the same degree of operational flexibility as conventional diesel buses (due to comparatively long ranges and a low refueling time) while they offer all advantages of electric vehicles: zero tailpipe emissions, significantly reduced noise and vibration levels and, therefore, higher passenger comfort.

We believe in the electrification of urban bus systems in which the fuel cell range extender and hydrogen drive lines are interesting options. Modularity and reducing Total Cost of Ownership for zero-emission Public Transport will be the main strategy of VDL Bus & Coach in the coming years.

—Rémi Henkemans, Managing Director VDL Bus & Coach

The Letter was handed over to Olaf Scholz, First Mayor of the City of Hamburg, and Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, representing two major European cities at the forefront of promoting low-emissions public transport systems.

In the last decade, several large-scale projects demonstrated that the fuel cell buses can be operated safely on European roads. There are currently about 50 fuel cell buses in service, with a further 20 to be added next year in over a dozen European cities. A commercialization initiative for fuel cell buses, launched by the FCH JU and supported by the signing manufacturers and bus operators from major European cities such as Hamburg and London, aims at deploying a total volume of 500 – 1,000 fuel cell buses in Europe by 2020.

More than 30 European cities and regions as well as their transport agencies have already declared their interest in fuel cell buses within the bus commercialisation study of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

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