Sale of 8 hydrogen-powered tram-buses is world first for Van Hool

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Belgian bus builder Van Hool has sold 8 of its latest tram-buses to the French city of Pau. This is the first time ever hydrogen technology has been integrated in tram-buses.

Van Hool, the Belgian independent bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer, has landed a contract with Pau for the supply of 8 Exqui.Cities, known as ‘tram-buses’, powered by hydrogen.

Elegant and eco-friendly

We already ran an article on this elegant and environmentally friendly tram-bus, a cross between a tram and a bus, in BeAutomotive: World first: Van Hool reveals 100% electric trambus.  The vehicle drives in its own track, without the expensive infrastructure costs of a tram line.

The first ever hydrogen-powered models are being built for Pau. Three of the articulated buses and the refuelling station based on electrolysis will be engineered within the context of the European 3Emotion project. 3Emotions, which stands for Environmentally friendly Efficient Electric Motion, bridges the gap between current fuel cell bus demonstration projects and larger scale deployment and the procurement foreseen by the FCH-JU Bus commercialisation study. The European consortium is coordinated by the Koningshooikt based bus builder.

World first for Van Hool

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 deploying 18-metre-long articulated tram-buses.

“We see Pau as a very rewarding project”, says Dirk Snauwaert, Public Relations Manager at Van Hool. “Our experience of building hydrogen buses spans decades. But this is the first time that hydrogen technology has been integrated as a power source in a tram-bus. The brand new vehicle is an 18.62 metre-long articulated tram-bus with a 125 passenger capacity and an autonomy of around 300 km.”

The future is zero-emission

It is now widely acknowledged that the future of public transport buses will have to be zero-emission. Fuel cell electric buses are one of the technologies that meet that requirement.

Delivery of the tram-buses is scheduled for the second half of 2019.