French bus manufacturer Safra, in partnership with fuel cell manufacturer Symbio, a joint venture between Michelin and Faurecia, have unveiled plans to produce 1,500 hydrogen buses at the manufacturer’s plant in the city of Albi, reports Sustainable Bus. The manufacturer’s unique Businova design is already on the road in the towns of Artois-Gohelle, Versailles and Le Mans in hydrogen form.
Safra and Symbio have agreed the production of a further 1,500 units with deliveries to begin this December, with Safra doubling the size of its manufacturing facility to reduce manufacturing time and cost significantly. “We have launched the first phase to accelerate our rate of production. This first step will allow us to quickly produce 140 buses per year. Then we plan to invest a total of €100 million over 10 years to produce more and faster to generate a significant reduction in costs,” said Vincent Lemaire, CEO of Safra. Deliveries are expected to start from December.
It is reported that the new buses will have a higher capacity, rising from a 30kW fuel cell with a 30kg hydrogen tank and a 132kWh battery pack to a 45kW fuel cell. “Buses can be in operation seven days a week. We have therefore designed an integration scheme that facilitates maintenance, especially the replacement of certain components and filters. Most importantly, Symbio’s bus solution includes a range of 24/7 maintenance services specifically tailored to commercial vehicles,” said Philippe Rosier, CEO of Symbio.
Symbio has also started work on constructing what it says will be the largest fuel cell plant in Europe Saint Fons, France. It expects the facility to produce up to 60,000 systems per year at full capacity.