Hydrogen Fuel Cell bus trialled by Abellio

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Caetanobus’ new H2.City Gold was trialled on TfL services last week to assess its feasibility on the network’s higher mileage routes

Abellio London undertook a trial of the Caetano H2.City Gold Hydrogen Fuel Cell zero-emissions bus during the week of 19 October.

Abellio is evaluating this new vehicle to assess whether it can provide a further solution for zero-emission buses to complement the 34 fully electric vehicles the business operates on Transport for London (TfL) routes C10 and P5 in Central London.

The prototype is built to the full Abellio London specification to reflect future working opportunities and incorporates features from the latest TfL Bus Safety Standard.

The bus works by taking air (oxygen) in and mixing oxygen and hydrogen to create electricity through a Toyota fuel cell, generating electricity and water through a chemical reaction. Electricity is then supplied to the traction motor, with the only emissions being water. The hydrogen bus offers a range of 250 miles, based on full zero-emission running (incl. heating), offering an alternative solution for high mileage routes or those depots limited by the power available from the National Grid.

One key attraction of the bus is that it has an identical body and operating platform to the Caetano e.City Gold vehicle that Abellio runs from its Walworth depot, with the only difference being above roof level where it carries a hydrogen storage system.

The bus was tested (out of service) on various routes to gather information to indicate range capability in active use. It was based at Abellio’s new bus depot in Southall, which opened in July 2019 and operates Transport for London routes in West London. As part of the trial, Abellio undertook a fuelling exercise and travelled to the Air Products fuel station at Heathrow. The exercise demonstrated the ease and speed of fuelling the vehicle.

Jon Eardley, UK Bus Engineering Director at Abellio said: “We are very excited to be the first operator to test and run this bus in the UK. The experience and knowledge from having the vehicle will give us valuable insight into the options that hydrogen can offer for the operation of bus routes in London or across the country and will help us gather valuable data on the use of this vehicle type either as a complimentary solution to electric or as a stand-alone solution. This trial helped us evaluate options for the future as Abellio progresses towards zero emissions operation”.

Tony Tomsett, UK Business Development Director for CaetanoBus said: “Caetano are extremely happy with both the open day and the subsequent trials with Abellio; both helped showcase the great performance of the bus, demonstrating that the technology is here, available and ready for our UK roads.

“It was also extremely pleasing to see how many heads were turned as the bus passed them on the road in Southall.

“This bus is essentially the same as the Caetano e.City Gold that Abellio already operates in London, except for the Toyota fuel cell system which is just a larger version of the one used in Toyota cars for many years. The technology is not new and untested, it’s just that it has now been packaged together in the form of this new H2.City Gold single deck bus by Caetano.”

Abellio invited key stakeholders to view the bus at Southall depot. The guests are seen with Tony Tomsett, Caetano UK (centre), Jon Eardley (3rd from right) and Alastair Willlis (right) from Abellio London. ABELLIO