The High V.LO-City project aims at accelerating the integration of a new generation of FCH buses (14 FC buses will be operating in Scotland (UK), Liguria (IT), Flanders (BE) and Groningen (NL)) in public transport fleets by demonstrating the technical and operational quality, their value in creating a clean and highly attractive public transport service and in facilitating the modular shift that local transport policies are envisioning. By linking effectively previous and future demonstration sites, the project seeks to further broaden and consolidate a network of successful FCH bus operators that is able to widen the dissemination of FCH bus operations in Europe.

Since 2002 several EU supported fuel cell bus programmes have successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of operating fuel cell buses and refuelling hydrogen in public transport operations. Bus manufacturers consider the fuel cell hybrid (FCH) bus as the most promising technology to substitute the diesel hybrid bus in the coming years, as FCH technology will contribute significantly to reduce local transport emissions and to simplify operations.
In order to facilitate a smooth integration of FCH buses, specific requirements with regards to maintenance, environmental and financial sound operations of public transport fleets need to be addressed, including:

  • Increase energy efficiency of buses;
  • Reduce the total cost of ownership;
  • Increase the life time of the fuel cells;
  • Reduce life cycle costs and more specifically the cost of hydrogen;
  • Define concrete economic early markets;

The latest generation of FCH buses in the High V.LO-City project reaches efficiency levels that go far beyond those tested in previous fuel cell bus projects. In addition, experiences from past projects point to the importance of addressing public transport needs for more flexibility and for modular hydrogen capacity build- up, that have not been implemented so far. Last but not least EU regulations, as the EU Directive on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road-transport vehicles (COM 2009/33) require public authorities to include life cycle costs including energy consumption and CO2 emissions into their procurement decisions.

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