Belfort goes zero-emission with its hydrogen-powered buses

Belfort hydrogen buses

When we arrived in Belfort for the Hydrogen Business For Climate forum, we took a ride in one of the city’s hydrogen-powered buses. The adoption of this type of vehicle is an integral part of the city’s strategy.

With two hydrogen production sites from Stellantis, the city is taking a major step forward in its transition to sustainable mobility. The Optymo hydrogen buses are at the heart of this initiative, but they come both with challenges and benefits.

One of the most striking aspects of this transition is the cost of hydrogen buses. Without subsidies, they cost €700,000 (about $734,000), which represents a substantial investment (almost thrice the price of a diesel bus). With subsidies, the cost drops to around €380,000 (about $400,000). This represents an extra cost of around €100,000 (around $105,000) compared with diesel.

Belfort’s ambitions for their hydrogen buses

Belfort currently has only one hydrogen refuelling station. With a capacity of 1 MW, it can produce around 400 kg of H2 per day. While there are no plans to set up any new stations in the short term, the city plans to double its station production capacity to reach 2 MW (around 800 kg of H2 per day) by 2025.

These hydrogen buses from Vanhool, are designed to operate similarly to diesel buses in terms of operating conditions. They have a range of just over 400 km and it takes 38 kg of hydrogen to fill them up. As for their consumption, 8 kg of hydrogen are needed to run 100 km. Regarding refuelling time, it takes 15 minutes to fill up one bus (5 minutes for diesel), which offers a decisive advantage over electric. However, this last point will require logistical efforts once the 27 hydrogen buses expected by Belfort are on the road (compared with 7 today).

Despite these few challenges, Belfort is taking a decisive step towards a cleaner future by adopting hydrogen buses. With 50% of their city bus fleet running on hydrogen by 2025, the French city is becoming an example of commitment to sustainable mobility. Besides, the hydrogen refuelling station (ideally located next to the motorway) plans to open up to private customers in 2025. This means that private customers will also be able to refuel there, making this technology more accessible.

Do you want to find out more about hydrogen-powered buses and Belfort? Then our latest 2 articles on the subject should interest you. You can read about hydrogen buses here and Belfort there.

Article written by Marina Leite and translated by Logan King

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About the author

Marina Leite

Marina Leite

As a Brazilian passionate about languages, human rights and environmental issues, I hold a Bachelor's degree in Applied Foreign Languages with a major in International Economic Development. Drawing on my experience as a content creator on social networks, I joined Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022, first as an intern, then as Marketing & Communications Manager and designer.

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