City cancels order for 50 hydrogen buses after realizing electric buses made so much more sense

The City of Montpellier has confirmed that it has canceled an order for 50 hydrogen fuel cell buses after realizing that it would be cheaper and more efficient to order battery-powered electric buses instead.

Hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars are already practically dead.

Virtually every vehicle program, from the Toyota Mirai to the Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell, failed to get traction as battery-electric vehicles took over.

However, some proponents of hydrogen have argued that the technology may still be prevalent for larger vehicles like buses and trucks.

The likelihood of this happening is getting harder and harder to believe, and now we get an interesting concrete example of why.

Montpellier, a city in the south of France, has ordered 50 hydrogen fuel cell buses for more than two years.

However, the city updated its plan to decarbonize its public transport last week and noted that it canceled the order after reviewing finances.

Michaël Delafosse, president of the municipality, said that they now expect hydrogen buses to be six times more expensive than electric buses because of the cost of operation (via La Tribune and translated from French):

“Hydrogen technology is promising. But we were helped on the investment but not on the operation. However, it would be six times more expensive than with electric buses. So, for the moment, we are abandoning hydrogen buses, we will see in 2030 if hydrogen is cheaper.

While the city could have bought the hydrogen buses for less money, they calculated that the running cost would be 0.95 euro (1.08 USD) per km for the hydrogen buses, compared to 0.15 euro. (0.17 USD) per km for the battery. the electric ones.

This is mainly due to the cost of producing, storing and distributing hydrogen, which is much higher and more complicated than the charging infrastructure, which mainly relies on an already existing electrical infrastructure.

Even in its most efficient form, producing and distributing hydrogen is far less efficient than powering a vehicle with a battery:

Today Montpellier, like many other cities around the world, is preparing to place an order for electric buses, which the city says will help them achieve their goal of making public transport free for their residents.

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