FLIXBUS WANTS COACHES POWERED BY FUEL CELLS
Flixbus announced that it is interested in having fuel cell coaches added to its fleet. Together with technology specialist Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) it has expressed this intention in a joint project. The only missing link thus far is a coach manufacturer, but in the press release Flixbus mentions that talks with a manufacturer are underway.
“Following the successful launch of three electric long-distance buses, we now want to develop the first long-distance bus with fuel cell drive together with Freudenberg and set another milestone in the history of mobility,” says Fabian Stenger, Managing Director of Flixbus. The company opted for battery electric buses from BYD and Yutong which are running now between Paris and Amiens and between Frankfurt and Mannheim.
The fuel cell technology is to be developed in-house – and may also be used outside buses at a later date. Flixbus wants the range of the fuel cell buses to be at least 500 kilometres to match Euro 6 diesel-powered long-distance buses. The refueling with hydrogen should take no more than 20 minutes. “A hybrid system that combines battery and fuel cells is the most practical solution for long haulage vehicles, coaches or trucks”, says Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “Because a battery driven electric driveline offers too little range.“ To evaluate this technique the partners are planning a validation phase with a representative coach fleet. For funding Flixbus and FST are looking to the German “National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology”. FST is developing fuel cells since the mid-1990s. At the beginning of 2018, FST acquired a fuel cell manufacturer and acquired a stake in the American battery manufacturer XALT Energy.
Earlier this year Ballard Power Systems announced that it has founded a joint venture, H2Bus, together with Everfuel, Wrightbus, Hexagon Composites, Nel Hydrogen, and Ryse Hydrogen. The project members are aiming to develop a hydrogen bus below 375,000 dollars for a single-decker bus. Already 600 fuel cell buses are being supported by a €40 million grant from the EU’s Connecting European Facilities (CEF) program, with 200 buses to be deployed in each of Denmark, Latvia and the U.K. by 2023.