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Ballard signs LOI to power first fuel-cell tram-buses with Van Hool in Pau, France

Ballard Power Systems has accepted a Letter of Intent to provide FCveloCity-HD 100 kW fuel cell systems to power eight ExquiCity tram-buses being built by Van Hool NV, a Ballard partner in Europe, for delivery in Pau, France to the SMTU-PPP (Syndicat Mixte de Transports urbains – Pau Portes des Pyrénées) and the STAP (Société de Transport de l’Agglomération Paloise) during the second half of 2019. (Earlier post.)

These will be the first hydrogen bus routes in France and the world’s first hydrogen tram-Van Hool ExquiCity tram-busbuses for a full BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system. These clean energy hybrid tram-buses will use fuel cells for primary power and lithium batteries for additional power when needed. Each tram-bus is more than 18 meters long (more than 60 feet), has capacity for 125 passengers and can operate more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) between hydrogen refueling, which take just 10 minutes to complete.

VanHool ExquiCity tram. Click to enlarge.

In addition to its environmental benefits, hybrid fuel cell tram-buses offer a number of important advantages, including: the highest level of operational flexibility and productivity; high levels of passenger comfort and safety; and lower cost than a traditional tram.

The tram-bus deployment in Pau is funded by Europe’s FCH JU programs. ENGIE’s subsidiary GNVERT will construct and operate the hydrogen refueling stations for the buses. The eight ExquiCity tram-buses are scheduled to be delivered to the project in the second half of 2019. Ballard expects to firm up contract and delivery details prior to the end of 2017.



Smart looking articulated hydrogen tram-buses with easier access (4 doors?).

A range of 300 Km would be enough for small cities, in and around PAU.

The on-board lithium batteries and H2 tanks could probably be filled at the same place/time?

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