Hydrogen can be a divisive subject, but recent trends in the bus sector would suggest that fuel cell powertrains are becoming increasingly viable. Particularly in Europe, initiatives that were put in place a few years back are beginning to bear fruit.
In October, a two-stage project supported by the European Commission hit a milestone as orders for new hydrogen fuel cell buses totalled 200 units. The €32m (US$38.6m) Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project launched in two stages in January 2017 and 2018, and should see 300 fuel cell buses deployed across 22 cities and ten member states by 2023.
As part of the scheme, the Cologne region in northwest Germany looks set to boast one of the largest hydrogen bus fleets in Europe. A total of 52 hydrogen buses should be in operation by 2022 following orders placed by the regional public transit operator RVK. Busmakers Solaris and Van Hool won the contract, and will furnish the cities of Cologne and Wuppertal.
Running in parallel…