Great success for pioneer PostAuto fuel cell bus roadshow in France
Great success for pioneer PostAuto fuel cell bus roadshow in France
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, October 28, 2015

CHIC Project--French stakeholders are not very familar with the topic of fuel cell buses. But can we say now that this belongs to the past? Thanks to the PostAuto (CarPostal) fuel cell bus roadshow, local stakeholders in five locations were given the opportunity to “touch” and “feel” the technology and get hands-on experience from PostAuto and fuel cell bus stakeholders.

The bus route of PostAuto/CarPostal roadshow

From 12 to 16 October 2015, CarPostal, the French branch of the Swiss operator PostAuto, drove throughout France with a fuel cell bus that is being deployed as part of the CHIC project. The roadshow stopped on Monday 12 October in Belfort, Tuesday 13 October in Dôle, Wednesday 14 October in Bourg-en-Bresse, Thursday 15 October in Grenoble and Friday 16 October in Salon-de-Provence.

One would argue about the cities choice, wondering about their common features (specific engagement towards zero emission public transport?). However, the roadshow route is easier to understand, once it is made clear that PostAuto (CarPostal) operate in all of the cities mentioned.

A successful show

In each city, PostAuto presented its practical experience: fuel cell buses have proved that they can be operated in the same way as diesel buses, showing a 400km autonomy and more than 1 million kilometers driven in daily service, while being environmentally friendly: no tailpipe emissions and 1,200 t of CO2 saved since the project start!

Various speakers provided unique contributions to the debate, sharing policy-makers point of views, operators approaches, industrial views or academic input. In addition, the Swiss experience was put in its European context, with a presentation of the overall CHIC project in Dôle and Salon-de-Provence, along with a presentation of the CHIC social acceptance study. The objectives were to:

Validate the CHIC results
Support PostAuto initiative to reach-out to French local and regional stakeholders
Showcase that the PostAuto experience is part of a broader experience, with more than 8 million kms driven
Explain that follow-up demonstration projects have started, along with the plan at European level (FCH JU)  to deploy 100s of buses across Europe by 2020, to unlock the market potential

At the test drive that followed each conference, the participants could verify the accuracy of the statements made during the conference… In Dôle,  the drivers indeed confirmed: “as regards the driving, it is smooth, noiseless, this really is a technology to develop!”

Between 20 and 50 local decision-makers (mayors, town councillors), hydrogen experts, mobility stakeholders and journalists participated in each event. The discussions showed high interest in the topic; this enthusiasm was confirmed by the wide press coverage (see some articles in French here).

Fuel cell buses in France – status and perspectives

Today: there is no fuel cell bus in operation in France. Tomorrow, five fuel cell buses will be delivered in Cherbourg, as part of the 3emotion project.

In parallel, a cluster of interested cities has been formed with the following objectives:

  • Organise a working group to initiate the build-up of a fuel cell bus project at local level
  • Take collective action to promote and facilitate the deployment of fuel cell electric buses
  • Act as an information hub for the European deployment
  • Act as an intermediary between public transport authorities, operators and industrial partners

A website has been launched to inform interested parties about the cluster activities and the topic. more information at  www.h2bus-france.fr.

Picture: Fuel cell bus test drive in Dôle, © PostAuto