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Bustech to use new Cummins battery-electric and fuel-cell electric powertrains in next-gen XDi buses

build the next generation Bustech XDi low floor transit bus using Cummins battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel-cell technologies. The agreement provides for initial units to be developed for both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric, with plans to ramp up production in late 2021 and early 2022, respectively.

We have leveraged Cummins diesel technology for many years to produce over 500 integrated chassis, and now we are excited to work together to deliver the next evolution of the platform.With technology evolving rapidly and a long vehicle lifecycle, we know customers need a vehicle architecture that provides commonality but allows them to adapt. We are focused on value for money and total cost of ownership.

—Christian Reynolds, group managing director at Bustech

The Battery-Electric System from Cummins debuted in 2019 after extensive development, testing and validation. Cummins battery packs, which form an integral part of the battery electric powertrain, are designed and built by Cummins.

The batteries feature a lightweight enclosure and flexible energy dense modules, all controlled by a proprietary battery management system (BMS) to keep the packs operating at maximum performance. Within the system, the packs can be scaled from 444 kWh to 518 kWh. The battery electric powertrain for Bustech will have a range up to 350 km between recharging.

The Cummins fuel-cell electric powertrain will maintain a large amount of commonality with the battery=electric system and will be built on the same chassis from Bustech. Cummins, which acquired Hydrogenics Corp. in 2019, will combine Cummins proprietary batteries with its 90kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell to provide a 450-600 km range based on various on-board hydrogen storage options.

Cummins shares our philosophy of building a vehicle platform to ease the transition to zero emission vehicles. An operator can select the best energy solution for a route, taking advantage of the unique properties of the battery and hydrogen powered vehicles. The updated XDi architecture simplifies mixed fleet vehicle maintenance through the quantity of shared components. Leveraging Cummins knowledge of zero-emissions technology and powertrain operation in Australia enables Bustech to deliver a vehicle that is optimized for Australian conditions from conception.

—Gregg Dinning, chief technology officer of Bustech

To support Bustech’s XDi zero-emission products, Cummins will provide local service to customers through their company-owned distributor network, one of the largest in Australia supporting the bus market. Cummins has more than 35 branch locations in Australia and New Zealand, and more than 6,000 dealer and distributor locations globally. The electric and fuel cell powertrain components will be manufactured in the United States, with final assembly and integration into the buses taking place in Australia.

Comments

Davemart

Its interesting that the debate has now moved on, from 'would this work?' to routine implementation where there is any priority to zero emissions.

If batteries cover the route, fine.

If they don't, then fuel cells will do the job.

Costs are dropping fast for both fuel cells and hydrogen though, so IMO it is likely to become more competitive and lead to a rather higher penetration.

Having flexibility for routes is desirable, so long as the extra cost is not too great.

SJC

Lots of batteries, an EV.
Fewer batteries and a fuel cell, longer range.

William Stockwell

In theory I like enough batteries to get you about 120 miles and enough reformed methanol fuel-cells to let you drive around 70-75 mph for as long as you have methanol fuel . It is a little more complicated than a battery only EV and probably the technology will need more refinement but I think 20 KWs of fuel-cell and 40 KWHs of batteries might be better than either 120 KWHs of batteries or 100KWs of fuel cells with a 2KWH battery .

Davemart

Methanol fuel cells are a rather less mature technology at the moment, so they are tending to stick in standard PEM fuel cells and hydrogen CF tanks at 350 bar, which works fine.

The optimum size of the battery pack likely varies according to the terrain, but is probably at the moment largely determined by the cost of the batteries versus the cost of hydrogen.

There are loads of possible configurations, and we will probably have just that, although I agree methanol fuel cells would be a good solution when they arrive economically.

In any event, a better solution than BEV alone in cold places, and likely very hot ones too, to run the air conditioning.

mahonj

@william, I agree, but you could just use a gasoline or diesel generator that can generate 30-40kW in as neat a package as possible.
You can keep the rev band and power band narrow and this should simplify the engine.
This is what the nissan e-power system does. Only add a 10-20 kWh battery so many days, you don't need to run the engine at all, just plug it in every night.

mahonj

OK, you would probably want 100-200 kW of a generator for a bus - the 30-40 was for a car.

SJC

An engine produces NOx, lots of heat and noise,
plus the weight size and complexity of engine/alternator.

Lad

I'll buy into using H2 if you create it from clean electricity, not from reforming fossil fuel...too nasty pollution wise. And, using a fossil fuel engine driven generator is a step backwards.
I expect battery technology to advance rapidly now that the auto companies are finally joining the game and that will reduce battery costs to the point that BEVs are more compelling that the oil companies dream of continuing the current fueling systems pumping H2 instead of gasoline/diesel.
There is a place for H2; on the high seas and in the air.

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