VAN HOOL HYDROGEN-POWERED EXQUI.CITY TRAM BUSES
Van Hool, the independent Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer has won a contract in Pau, France, to supply 8 Exqui.Cities, known as “tram-buses”, powered by hydrogen. The use of hydrogen buses is not only a first for France it is also a world first for a full BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system with 18-metre-long articulated tram-buses. This is the first time that hydrogen technology has been integrated as a power source in a tram-bus. The brand new vehicle is an 18.62 metre-long articulated tram-bus with a 125 passenger capacity and an autonomy of around 300 km. The order of 8 Exqui.Cities will be delivered to the SMTU-PPP (Syndicat Mixte de Transports urbains – Pau Portes des Pyrénées) and the STAP (Société de Transport de l’Agglomération Paloise) in the second half of 2019. The bus’s power source is an electric hybrid. On the one hand hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) are converted to electricity in the fuel cell using electrolysis in “real time” and, on the other hand, the lithium batteries and electric motors provide additional power wherever and whenever it is needed. The energy that is released when the vehicle’s brakes are applied is also re-used. The use of this technology results in the 0-emission of greenhouse gases or air polluting substances. The vehicle’s only emission is water vapour.
Additional advantages offered by hydrogen buses include their autonomy of over three hundred kilometres and fast re-fuelling (10 minutes). These buses therefore allow bus companies to reach the highest level of operational flexibility and productivity.
Furthermore, tram-buses are characterised by a high level of passenger comfort, safety and information, and a high-frequency service. Because the vehicle is driven predominantly in its own lane, commercial speed is optimised. The tram-bus is an effective and less expensive alternative to tram, which requires greater investment in terms of equipment and infrastructure.
Van Hool has already commercialised over 50 hydrogen-powered vehicles (32 in Europe and 21 in North America). The unique combination of a tram-bus with a hydrogen power source, is undoubtedly a new milestone in modern, ecological public transport.” (Source: Van Hool)