Thursday, 7 January 2016

More Hydrogen buses for London route RV1

I've just found out that Van Hool has been awarded a contract by TFL to build two single decker Hydrogen buses for Route RV1.

Van Hool, an independent designer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, has entered into a contract with Transport for London (TfL) in the UK for the construction of two latest generation hydrogen buses.
This new contract falls within the scope of 3Emotion, a European consortium on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses, in which Van Hool is acting as project coordinator. The hydrogen bus, which converts hydrogen into electricity, is currently one of the most environmentally friendly public transport vehicles: it offers local zero emissions (absolutely no harmful emissions or CO2) and significantly reduced noise levels.

The two hydrogen buses for London are hybrid (fuel cell and battery powered) Van Hool A330 model 12-metre bus with two axles. They are equipped with the very latest FCvelocity-HD7 Fuel Cell module from Ballard Power Systems in Vancouver, Canada. The bus has 35 seats, space for one wheelchair user, and standing room for + 30 passengers. The vehicles will be put to use in London city centre, more specifically on the route RV1 which runs between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway.

The hybrid drive system will enable the buses, with a tank content of 30 kg of hydrogen on board, to travel the planned daily distance of 300 km for TfL (Transport for London).

The drive system is based on fuel cells, lithium batteries and electric motors. The bus runs entirely on electricity. Hydrogen is converted into electricity in the fuel cell, with water vapour as the only emission, while the batteries provide additional power as and when needed. This hybrid drive system and the reuse of braking energy limits hydrogen consumption to around 8 kg per 100 km.

Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool, is delighted with this new endorsement: “The fact that TfL, which operates a fleet of 9.050 buses, is ordering these buses from Van Hool, must be seen as a vote of confidence in this technology and our products. Van Hool has already supplied 49 hydrogen buses to the US and to European member states as part of other European projects, including five buses to De Lijn Antwerp. This new generation of hydrogen buses, which are being built at our facility in Koningshooikt, will pave the way for further commercialisation. These types of high added value vehicles are essential for the production unit in Koningshooikt.”

Van Hool is an independent Belgian designer and manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles. The company was set up in 1947 and is located in Koningshooikt. The vast majority of items produced are destined for Europe and the US. Van Hool has over 4,800 employees worldwide, most of whom are based at the production facilities in Koningshooikt and Bree in Belgium, and in Skopje in Macedonia.

TFL is trying to achieve the target of having Zero emission single deck buses for their ULEZ (which covers Central London) which is starting in 2020.
The question I have is this: is it time that TFL moved on from the 3 door 2 staircase hybrid double deck bus project, known as the New Routemaster, and started increasing the fleet of zero emission buses in order to combat pollution caused by diesel emission's which in turn contributes to climate change?

As I've said before, in one of my previous articles, I have nothing against the New Routemaster bus but I do think TFL should move on and buy more zero-emission buses.

Worth noting is that Van Hool is also contracted to build a fleet of 30 bendy buses for the Belfast Bus Rapid Transit scheme which will cost £19 million.

That's all the news I have for now.

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Related Multimedia

London Buses Route RV1
Operated by Tower Transit (LI Garage)
Hydrogen powered VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar
WSH62996 LJ13JWP
filmed on 23rd October 2015 

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