Sunday, 16 January 2022

West Midlands Bid for More Hydrogen Buses

Following the launch of a fleet of hydrogen powered double decker vehicles in the West Midlands, a business case has been put forward for the acquisition of a further 200 hydrogen vehicles

The emission free vehicles seat 63 passengers, which is ten fewer than the 73 seats in a typical National Express Platinum bus that currently costs half the price.

The source of the hydrogen to power the buses is critical though, as green hydrogen is in short supply.

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s board has agreed to the submission of a business case to the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) competition, which if successful would bring a further 200 hydrogen buses to the region.

The first of the new hydrogen powered double decker buses are already in service and our West Midlands contributor, Ken Jones has already travelled on them.

Following the recent Focus Transport posting on the launch of the hydrogen bus in the West Midlands here Ken decided he should travel on them. Travelling in and out of the city on an electric bus he went to Walsall on a Hydrogen bus on route 51 and returned to Birmingham on a conventional Platinum liveried bus on the X51 route. 

On all the buses he travelled on the front upper front seat. He thought the acceleration of the hydrogen bus was not as good as the electric bus, and for front passengers the Platinum bus had the most leg room. Like the electric buses capacity downstairs was limited.

During his visit only two hydrogen buses were in service meaning at mid morning they could only be found on approximately 1 in 5 of the vehicles on the route.
New bus stops are being built along the route to Walsall which one day will form the Swift route from Walsall to Solihull.