Retrofit : a French Region orders 50 hydrogen coaches from GCK

hydrogen retrofit coaches
Retrofit : a French Region orders 50 hydrogen coaches from GCK

The French region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes made the announcement today. This is a major order for at least 50 coaches. This represents a turning point for GCK, a French player in retrofit.

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region is very interested in this new market. In October 2022, a retrofitted coach wearing the region’s colours was on display at the AutoCar Expo exhibition at the Lyon Eurexpo exhibition centre. Its distinctive feature was that it used French technology: a fuel cell from Symbio, fuel tanks from Forvia and a battery supplied by GCK. The latter also integrated the technologies on board the vehicle.

As a retrofit specialist, GCK had already worked with the Ginhoux* group on hydrogen-powered coaches. It then won an order from Dominique & B.E Green (read our article). More recently, GCK won a new contract to retrofit diesel coaches to hydrogen for Keolis. As part of the contract, it will even be testing the hydrogen engine on a coach.

Europe’s largest retrofit order for hydrogen coaches

As announced today, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has decided to trust GCK Mobility to retrofit 50 coaches to hydrogen. This is an unprecedented order on a European scale. The first stage will involve 16 coaches, worth €8.5 million. But the Region has already deliberated and voted the budget for the other coaches. Eventually, the contract could even reach a hundred coaches. GCK will convert these Iveco Crossway models in its Cournon workshops using a fuel cell.

The Group has also successfully passed all the UTAC** tests on this model. Road approval is therefore just a matter of days away, paving the way for a series production retrofit. And that would be a world first.

*France’s oldest public passenger transport company

**A privately-owned French group which carries out development and validation tests in its laboratories.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

Picture of Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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