Optare launching hydrogen decker

Arcola Energy and Optare Group have launched a hydrogen fuel-cell double-decker for UK and international markets.

The Metrodecker H2 hydrogen is built on the existing Optare Metrodecker EV platform. It incorporates a hydrogen fuel-cell powerpack developed by Arcola Energy as a direct replacement for the battery powerpack in the Metrodecker EV. It can carry more than 90 passengers and offers a zero-emission range of between 200 and 250 miles depending on specification and route.

With both bus and power system built in the UK, the first Metrodecker H2 buses are scheduled to enter service in 2021. According to Optare, hydrogen fuel-cell buses are especially suited to busy, long-distance, high-capacity routes and complement the use of battery electric buses on shorter routes.

Optare sees a significant export market for fuel cell buses to regions with high ambient temperatures, requiring high air-conditioning power.

Base vehicles for the Metrodecker H2 will be serially produced at Optare’s factory in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Leeds, on the existing production lines for the Metrodecker EV. Hydrogen and fuel cell systems will be built by Arcola Energy at its existing Liverpool manufacturing facility, with plans well advanced for a second facility at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee.

Graham Belgum, CEO of Optare Group, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Arcola on this project. We believe fuel cell technology has the potential to complement Optare’s award winning battery electric vehicle range. We look forward to working closely with Arcola to increase our understanding of the technology and its performance in service. We can see applications for fuel cells on inter urban routes in temperate climates and in high ambient environments where air conditioning is essential and energy consumption is high.”

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