Hyundai will work with two German bus operators to run in-service trials of its hydrogen-powered Elec City Fuel Cell bus in Munich, Germany. Hyundai is exploring opportunities to introduce the zero-emission bus to European markets and is headed on a European tour to show it off.
The tour began in Amsterdam who has announced plans to replace their current buses and lorries with hydrogen or battery-powered models as early as 2025. Similarly, DHL, Budweiser and the French postal system (La Poste) are adopting hydrogen-powered road transport solutions.
Hydrogen fuel cell buses are expected to become more commonplace in the coming decade. Paris, Mexico City, Tokyo and Seoul have all committed to a move towards Hydrogen buses.
Hyundai’s Elec City Fuel Cell bus has a range of more than 475km on a full charge, and features a 180-kW high-capacity hydrogen fuel cell system that uses two 90-kW fuel cells featuring a durable hydrogen diffusion layer paired with an electrolyte membrane. The hydrogen itself is stored in tanks on the roof, which can hold about 75lbs of fuel—enough for the 310+ miles of range.
Elec City Fuel Cell has been commercially available in South Korea since 2019, and a total of 108 buses are in operation.
The hydrogen-powered buses being used in various public bus routes have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 7,700 tons to date compared to internal combustion buses, it was noted at the Hyundai event. On a yearly basis, Elec City Fuel Cell buses that are currently in operation are expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent amount of CO2 sequestered in a year by 1,500 hectares of forest.
If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of how Fuel Cell powered buses will fit in with battery electric buses, Hydrogen starts to make the most sense after 250km. Which can account for a great many buses since a city bus might do its loop 16 times averaging 350km driven in a day.
Battery-electric buses already have a head start on hydrogen fuel cell models in Europe, with London and Paris both possessing fleets of several hundred electric buses each. Berlin has said no to Hydrogen in favor of a pure battery electric fleet. So the race between battery-electric models and hydrogen models seems to on once again.
However, the move to Hydrogen today doesn’t come without issues. We’re pushing for this move because Hydrogen is supposed to be green, but the current hydrogen production is almost entirely powered by fossil fuels, with only 4% of energy coming from renewable sources. Holland’s Hydrogen infrastructure plan includes a significant shift towards the green production of hydrogen.
As a part of Europe’s Green new deal we will see a continent wide shift towards the production of green Hydrogen. Hyuindai’s fleet of trucks in Switzerland is already running on Green Hydrogen, so we are moving in the right direction. Decarbonization of the global transport sector requires a substantial increase in hydrogen production and the infrastructure to support it.