Ballard published 'The Special Tools kit' is composed of tools to be used for common diagnostics of the fuel cell system such as a conductivity meter, hydrogen detector, adaptors needed for calibration and a USB interface for CAN c
Although each demonstration will have its local specificity, the experience suggests that a number of practical recommendations can be formulated to support other cities in developing their own trials
Suggestions are grouped in four project phases:
Project initiation –engage with the local stakeholders to secure buy-in and realistic objectives for bus deployments; understand the full project costs and plan a credible funding strategy; understand how are the relevant suppliers and infrastructure providers. In any case, the early and proactive involvement of the operator is PARAMOUNT to the success. This is mainly so because the technology is in its prefinal stage of commercialisation and in need of permanent interaction between the actors.
Pre-procurement –understand the regulation, risks, look for strategic alliance in the procurement and prepare a robust implementation plan
Procurement –prepare optimal tender requirements to secure the success of the project
Delivery –adopt a sound management protocol to coordinate complex operations
The experience suggests that solid planning and strong project management are highly recommended. Each of these phases is explored here.
A teething period is to be expected at the operation’s start, in which the availability of the buses may be lower than expected. The length of the teething period depends on the training of the maintenance staff, maturity of the vehicle technology, components and integration
It is also recommended that the acceptance tests for the vehicles are made more comprehensive to evaluate vehicle real performance. A minimum mileage should be considered as “tests” before the buses enter full service/operation
In addition new acceptance protocols appropriate to an electric drivetrain are required which go over and above those developed for a conventional mechanical drivetrain (test of communications, test of cycling behavior etc.)