• A detailed description of the project itself (timeline, goals, etc.)
  • A detailed discussion of the trial location based on (i) Relevance (to encourage visibility); (ii) Suitability (demanding routes may increase the technical difficulties)
  • A technical description of the route on which the buses will serve (route length; number of stops; driving cycle; etc.)
  • A contingency plan should tasks require more time than expected or fail
  • A description of the technology to be procured -not over-specify details but rather focus on core performance specifications
  • Include a strategy for bus and refuelling station maintenance
  • allocate responsibility for tasks before/after the procurement of the project beginning, allocate responsibility for tasks before/after the procurement
  • Understand the relevant regulation codes and standards (RCS)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Pre-procurement –understand the regulation, risks, look for strategic alliance in the procurement and prepare a robust implementation plan
  3. Procurement –prepare optimal tender requirements to secure the success of the project
  4. 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.

  • Keep a project risk register
  • Explicitly describe the desired specifications for buses and refuelling stations
  • Ensure compatibility between bus and refuelling station hardware and an depot operating principles; appropriate hydrogen fuel quality and carbon footprint

The tendering process itself may vary according to the project:

Allocate sufficient resources for staff training and refreshing courses, with focus on practical training; involve dedicated staff

Explain to (and remind) all staff the demonstration nature of the project and the challenges of the operation of a new technology at the beginning to secure buy-in and allow better planning

Information on safety features of the buses should be provided to all stakeholders with direct contact with the vehicles

In the initial phase, a credible budget and a dialogue between key partners need to be established

Involve key delivery partners at an early stage (transit agencies, health and safety officials, fire-fighters, local councils, etc.)

The project management team should verify whether the commissioning period allocated for testing buses and refuelling station is sufficient to ensure full operability.

The project development team needs to develop a good understanding of the market and its key players

- Provide partners with a list of main stakeholders on the supply side and talk to them in advance of any planning:

A “Self-Assessment Questionnaire” for bus operators has been developed by Roland Berger Consultants for the FCH JU,

to assess the level of preparedness and commitment for large-scale fuel cell bus integration into the bus fleets at individual participating locations of the bus commercialisation study  .

It also provides orientation and a pathway for successful fuel cell bus deployment as it covers the main aspects to be considered in a structured and systematic way.

This way, it also supports cities and regions in their respective planning.

As the technology is not yet fully commercial, partners will need to access sources of match funding

- The project development team will develop a budget for the project


Local actors may source match-funding for financing their trial from sponsoring bodies at a regional,national or european level:

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

Lessons learned in CHIC

  • 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.)
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