Hybrid fuel-cell tram-buses enter service in France

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Eight hybrid fuel-cell tram-buses have been inaugurated at a ceremony in Pau, France and are now in service in Pau’s Bus Rapid Transit System.

The Van Hool-built ExquiCity tram-buses are primarily powered by Ballard FCveloCity-HD 100kW fuel-cell modules and use lithium-ion batteries for additional power when needed, with the only emission being water vapour.

Each tram-bus is over 18m (60ft) long, has capacity for 125 passengers and can operate more than 300km (185 miles) between hydrogen refuelling.

Jesper Themsen, president and CEO of Ballard Power Systems Europe, said: “This first ever deployment of fuel-cell powered tram-buses is an exciting event in our ongoing partnership and collaboration with Van Hool.

“It also represents another step forward in the growing momentum behind zero-emission fuel-cell adoption in Europe’s transportation sector.”

Delivered to Pau in 2019, the vehicles are being operated by the SMTU-PPP (Syndicat Mixte de Transports urbains – Pau Portes des Pyrénées) and the STAP (Société de Transport de l’Agglomération Paloise).

The deployment is partially funded by Europe’s FCH-JU programme. GNVERT, a subsidiary of ENGIE, constructed and operates the hydrogen refuelling station for the tram-buses.

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