Already partners in the design of France’s first hydrogen-powered buses, Albi-based Safra and Symbio, a subsidiary of Michelin and Faurecia, have signed a contract for the development of 1,500 buses, equipped with an optimized hydrogen system and a range of services adapted to the uses of these vehicles.
Hydrogen buses available by the end of 2021. While the Businova – the first French hydrogen bus developed by Safra and equipped by Symbio – is already on the road in several cities such as Artois-Gohelle, Versailles and Le Mans, the two companies are announcing the development of 1,500 12-meter buses, which will be available from December 2021. SAFRA is currently the only French manufacturer to offer hydrogen buses,” says Vincent Lemaire, CEO of the Albi-based company.
A plug and play hydrogen solution. These buses will be equipped with Symbio’s plug and play solution designed specifically to meet the needs of this market segment. It contains a more efficient fuel cell that meets automotive standards (45 kW at system output). This technology, ready for mass production, will benefit from a significant cost advantage. It also includes other key components (notably the compressor and power converter) that have been pre-validated to optimize system performance. The integration is also designed to meet the specific needs of these vehicles. A bus can run seven days a week,” explains Philippe Rosier, CEO of Symbio. We have therefore designed an integration scheme that facilitates maintenance, particularly the replacement of certain components and filters. Above all, Symbio’s bus solution includes a set of 24/7 maintenance services that are particularly well suited to the uses of commercial vehicles.”
Two partners accelerate industrialization. With this strengthened partnership, the two companies are demonstrating their desire to accelerate the deployment of a competitive hydrogen bus offer and industrialization, with a view to international deployment – in line with the objectives of the hydrogen strategy decided at European and French level. Safra has invested in doubling the size of its manufacturing workshop in order to significantly reduce the time and
manufacturing costs. “We have launched a first phase to accelerate our production rate, with the expansion of our production facilities, in terms of material, technological and human resources. This first stage will enable us to rapidly produce 140 buses per year. The next stage will be even more ambitious, as we plan to invest a total of 100 million euros over 10 years to produce more and faster, in order to generate a significant reduction in costs,” says Vincent Lemaire.
In Saint Fons, France, Symbio has launched the construction of Europe’s largest fuel cell plant, which will eventually produce 60,000 systems per year. The company is also continuing to improve the performance of its products through accelerated innovation processes
– In particular, it has submitted a project as part of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (PIIEC). “We have a clear roadmap to accelerate, both in innovation and in
industrialization,” says Philippe Rosier, the company’s CEO. It is the key to our global competitiveness in all segments of hydrogen mobility.