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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.

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