The Scottish city of Aberdeen is procuring 15 more fuel cell buses. They have been ordered from the Northern Irish manufacturer Wrightbus, and Ballard Power Systems is supplying the fuel cell technology.
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Aberdeen already has ten Van Hool H2 buses in service. The 15 new buses – all double-decker – are co-financed as part of the EU JIVE project and are scheduled to go into operation this year. The vehicles can transport up to 64 passengers.
In the basic version, the range of the 10.9 metre long double-decker is around 320 km. Wrightbus presented the model called StreetDeck FCEV only at the beginning of November at the latest Euro Bus Expo. The StreetDeck FCEV uses Ballard’s FCVelocity FC fuel cell system and a Siemens drive train. The FC bus was developed as part of the EU-funded JIVE project.
The order volume is expected to be 7.5 million pounds, i.e. 500,000 pounds per vehicle – the equivalent of 560,000 euros. “We are very pleased to contribute to the financing that has made this exciting next phase of Aberdeen’s hydrogen journey possible,” said Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse. “This important investment will help the city achieve its decarbonisation goals and further consolidate its reputation for innovation and technology”.
It’s not the first major order for Wrightbus: two months ago, London’s public transport operator Transport for London ordered 20 fuel cell buses worth £12 million from the Ballymena-based company.
Update 09 March 2020: After the interim insolvency of Wrightbus, there is now an update on the delivery of the 15 H2 buses. The vehicles ordered in 2019 will be delivered with some delay in spring 2020 and, after a test phase, are expected to go into regular service from the summer, mainly on routes 19 and X27. Originally, the new H2 buses for Aberdeen were to be delivered in 2019, but then the manufacturer Wrightbus filed for insolvency. Shortly afterwards, the Bamford Bus Company had taken over the business and assets of Wrightbus.
Update 31 August 2020: Aberdeen plans to purchase ten more fuel cell buses in addition to the 15 already ordered from Wrightbus, bringing the number of hydrogen buses in the city to 25. The background to this is that an additional £1 million of funding has now become available under the EU JIVE project used to co-finance the buses.
According to the city council, the increased fleet, with its higher demand for hydrogen in the region, should enable a commercial supplier to set up a “hydrogen hub”. The delivery of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub is part of the city’s energy transition efforts and strategic infrastructure plan to become a climate positive city, promote the energy transition and support the recovery of the green economy after the Covid 19 pandemic, it said.
Update 29 January 2021: First Bus has now put the first of the 15 new fuel cell double decker buses into service in Aberdeen. As described above, this was supposed to have happened earlier. However, deliveries were delayed due to the insolvency of manufacturer Wrightbus. On the occasion of the commissioning, First Bus has now published the following humorous video:
energylivenews.com, belfasttelegraph.co.uk, aberdeencity.gov.uk, intelligenttransport.com (Update I), aberdeencity.gov.uk (Update I), pressandjournal.co.uk, h2-view.com, aberdeencity.gov.uk (Update II), news.aberdeencity.gov.uk (Update III)
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