FCH JU Publishes Study on Alternative Powertrains for European Buses

10 Dec 2012

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The report was published to complete phase one of the project analysing the potential for fuel cell buses in European cities. Led by McKinsey, the scope of the report was based upon the need to decarbonise transport by 95% by 2050. This decrease is necessary to reach the overall targets of 80% decarbonisation by the same time.

The study was restricted to analysing data for 12m and 18m buses, together comprising 65% of the European bus fleet, which make up the majority of urban transport. Eight different powertrains were studied; Diesel, CNG, parallel hybrids, series hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, trolley buses, opportunity e-buses (that can re-charge in operation using ground based chargers at bus stops) and overnight e-buses (that recharge at the depot).

The results of the study evaluated three main factors: environment, performance and total cost of ownership (TCO). Upside and downside potential was also calculated by changing the assumptions to identify which factors had the most influence.

Hydrogen fuel cell buses compared best to conventional powertrains, offering similar performance, flexibility of route selection and a low infrastructure cost per kilometre. It also outperformed conventional powertrains on emissions and noise.

Interestingly, taxation came out as one of the most influential factors, but mass production will also be required to achieve economies of scale. Coordinating deployments across Europe and using them to leverage purchasing power is one way to achieve these early volumes.

The FCH JU is currently inviting applications from public authorities, bus transit operators, manufacturers and other interested organisations to participate in phase two of the project. The aim is to create a roadmap for the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell buses for Europe. Interested parties should contact the FCH JU at fch-ju@fch.europa.eu or visit www.fch-ju.eu.

Download the report as pdf.

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