Van Hool Equi Citys for Pau

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France Van Hool has won a contract in Pau, France, to supply eight Exqui.Citys powered by hydrogen. The use of hydrogen buses is not only a first for France it is also a world first for a full BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system with 18-metre-long articulated tram-buses (tram-buses), says the manufacturer.

The vehicles will be 18.62m-long, have a carrying capacity of 125 and a range of around 300km. Delivery will be to the SMTU-PPP (Syndicat Mixte de Transports urbains – Pau Portes des Pyrénées) and the STAP (Société de Transport de l’Agglomération Paloise) in the second half of 2019.

For Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool, this is a significant development for the company. “Van Hool is looking forward to applying its extensive experience in the field of hydrogen-powered vehicles to the new tram-bus system in Pau,” he said.

“This is a challenge we are extremely happy to take on in Koningshooikt (where Van Hool’s Belgium factory is located). We have the necessary experience and confidence to make this project a success.

“Firstly, Van Hool has already commercialised over 50 hydrogen-powered vehicles (32 in Europe and 21 in North America) and secondly, we have introduced around 200 ‘tram-buses’ to 13 European countries and Martinique. The unique combination of a tram-bus with a hydrogen power source, is undoubtedly a new milestone in modern, ecological public transport.”

François Bayrou, Chairperson of the Communauté d’agglomération Pau Béarn Pyrénées, stated: “The Pau Béarn Pyrenees Aglommeration made a conscious choice for a hydrogen-innovation which results in a ‘zero emissions’ solution and an everyday mode of transport, such as a bus, is thereby evolving into an environmental project that will benefit people.”

The 3Emotion project, which is the framework within which these hydrogen buses will be supplied, is financially supported by the EU through the FCH JU under subsidy agreement 633.174 and by a series of local governments.