VANCOUVER—Ballard Power Systems Inc. has signed a letter of intent with Beligan bus maker Van Hool NV for 40 fuel cell engines.
If finalized, the deal will be the largest of its kind for hydrogen-powered buses in Europe. The Vancouver-based company said it expects to firm up the contract and begin shipments in the second quarter of this year. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
The order will be supported by Joint Initiative For Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe, or JIVE—an EU-sponsored program that sims to support hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure across the bloc.
“There is momentum in the growing global deployments of fuel cell technology for heavy duty transportation applications,” Rob Campbell, Ballard’s Chief Commercial Officer, said in a statement. “Where transit buses and other heavy vehicles are typically characterized by high utilization rates together with the need for rapid refueling, fuel cell electric platforms are an especially attractive zero-emission alternative.”
Van Hool says it has already integrated Ballard’s 85 kilowatt fuel cell engines into its buses.
Under the LOI, the Canadian cleantech manufacturer will deliver 40 of the engines over the next two years. 30 of those engines will be integrated into buses destined for Cologne, Germany, while the other 10 will find their way to Wuppertal, Germany.
The 40 Ballard-powered buses are expected to be the first deployed under the EU’s JIVE program.