WRIGHTBUS LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST FUEL-CELL DOUBLE DECKER
NORTHERN IRELAND-BASED bus manufacturer Wrightbus has debuted its production version fuel-cell double-decker bus – the world’s first – at the recent 2018 Euro Bus Expo in Birmingham, UK.
As announced by Wrightbus and reported by Busworld, it’s two years since the UK bus maker released a prototype of a fuel-cell double decker, but this finalised version is mass-production ready. According to reports, the new Streetdeck FCEV body bus features a Ballard fuel cell and a Siemens drivetrain.
As part of the EU-funded Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe project (JIVE) project, Wrightbus developed the Streetdeck FCEV, which already has customer orders, it’s reported. London will be the first city to order this model fuel cell bus.
Bus details are scant at the time of print, but vitals are it is a 10.9m bus with 64 passenger seats. It has a 48kW traction battery pack meaning the Streetdeck FCEV has a 322km operating range, it’s claimed. A 426km extended range is also available, apparently; refuelling lasts about seven minutes.
The hydrogen storage tanks are said to be lightweight and a battery management system monitors and balances the stored power while the vehicle is in use, it states.
According to the company the modular fuel-cell bus platform developed can also be used for the battery electric variants. As reported, Wrightbus has developed the chassis as a platform for both single-story buses and the double-deckers. It has a flat floor throughout the bus, and the heating and cooling system is said to also be zero emission.
The JIVE seeks to deploy 139 new zero emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five countries, the organisation states.
JIVE will run for six years from January 2017 and is co-funded by a €32 million (AUS$49.9 million) grant from the FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under the European Union Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation, it says.
As a matter of information, this is the first out of two projects. The JIVE2 project started earlier this year in January, 2018. Combined, the JIVE projects will deploy nearly 300 fuel cell buses in 22 cities across Europe by the early 2020s – the largest deployment in Europe to date, it says.
The overall objective of the JIVE initiatives are to advance the commercialisation of fuel cell buses through large-scale deployment of vehicles and infrastructure so that, by the end of the project, “fuel cell buses are commercially viable for bus operators to include in their fleets without subsidy, and that local and national governments feel empowered to regulate for zero emission propulsion for their public transport systems.”
Specific objectives of JIVE include:
• Achieve 30 per cent cost reduction versus state of the art;
• Operate 50 per cent of the vehicles for at least 36 months;
• Deploy the largest capacity hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) in Europe and achieve near 100 per cent reliability; and
• Demonstrate technological readiness of FC buses and HRS and encourage further uptake. WRIGHTBUS DRIVELINE TECH Wrightbus hydrogen fuel cell technology provides a zero emission hybrid drive system that encompasses hydrogen tanks and a battery pack to power both single-deck and double-deck vehicles, says the company. The combination of the battery pack and the hydrogenpowered fuel cell makes the continuous operation of a fully zero-emission double-deck bus feasible.
Two key elements of the design are, “the lightweight hydrogen storage tanks, and the automatic battery management system, which continuously monitors and balances the stored power whilst the vehicle is in service”.
“Offering a reliable system with no emissions, all Wrightbus hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will feature: an electric drive axle packaged to allow a full flat floor throughout the bus; a zero-emission heating system; the ability for overnight charging if the operator desires; and remote diagnostics.”
Wrightbus, with consortium partners Magtec, Chargemaster and Cambridge University, has been leading a research partnership, funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK.