Hydrogen providers are confident in the performance readiness of hydrogen fuel technology. Hydrogen dispensers are already integrated into conventional fueling stations in Europe, the US and Asia. Cross-competitive partnerships have been launched to speed the introduction of hydrogen infrastructure and reduce risk to individual stakeholders.
Manufacturers and suppliers believe in commercialization as larger fleets are deployed:
Both of the primary European and US fuel cell bus deployment collaborations, CHIC and NFCBP respectively, foster a variety of technology platforms. For instance, within the CHIC program, buses will be deployed from three OEMs: Van Hool, Wrightbus, and Mercedes/Daimler. Results from these deployments will be supplemented with results from Phase 0 cities which feature two more OEMs, APTS and New Flyer.
In the US, the NFCBP is supporting deployments from Van Hool, Proterra, DesignLine, EVAmerica and El Dorado. The buses' configurations include fuel cells from Ballard, UTC Power Hydrogenics, and Nuvera and partnerships with BAE and Siemens.
Outside of these multi-site, multi-platform programs, a number of additional partnerships exist to promote deployment of explicit platforms. For instance the 2010 ZEBA program in California includes deployment of 12 buses all of the same configuration featuring the next generation of Van Hool and UTC Power product. This same configuration is also in demonstration at CT Transit. This vehicle builds upon previous generations of this partnership when Van Hool/UTC Power buses were deployed at AC Transit, CT Transit and SunLine in 2005/2006. Van Hool has also partnered with Ballard to deploy 14 buses at three sites in Italy, Scotland and Belgium under the HIGH V. LO City program.
As documented in the NEXT HYLIGHTS analysis, the number of fuel cell and bus manufacturers involved in bus demonstrations has grown substantially in recent years. The increased competition is a positive sign of market growth, but continued entrance of new players is necessary to accelerate cost reduction and grow confidence in the industry.
Image Source: NEXT HyLIGHTS
As shown in the following video, auto manufacturers Mercedes, GM, Honda and Toyota are deploying increasing fleets of fuel cell passenger vehicles in addition to fuel cell buses. The current Daimler fuel cell buses utilize the same fuel cell unit as that of the Mercedes B-class F-cell cars. Infrastructure providers are partnering with public entities to coordinate hydrogen fueling station support.