The London Bus Page In Exile

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Fuel Cell Trials to end

Filed under: Announcements, Companies, Equipment, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:29 pm

First London Mercedes-Benz Citaro fuel cell bus ESQ 64992 (LK53 MBU) at Aldwych, 14/11/05The Fuel Cell trial ends on Saturday after nearly two years of operation. During that time three adaptations of the standard Mercedes-Benz Citaro single-decker ran on the 25, switching after six months to the more sedate RV1, both operated on a special dedicated schedule out of First London’s Hackney (H) garage. They were part of a Europe-wide trial in which ten cities have been evaluating the buses.
So what’s next, is the question. To hit you with a barrage of questions all at once, in fact, I’ll start with where are the buses going to go? What of the hydrogen fuelling facility, in this case sited at Hornchurch (admittedly some distance away from the RV1’s roads but still within range after a morning’s work). Are we, the public, to be privy to the results gained from the experiment? And most importantly, is there any future in the project – because, as a convinced fan of this type of propulsion, I should hate to see the whole thing quietly dropped now that hybrid buses seem to be in the ascendancy, especially when hybrids, from experience of the 360’s feeble and rarely-seen DAF SB120 adaptations, are clearly not up to the task. There is, of course, a colossal cost differential, but funding has never been a problem for TfL, not recently in the public’s estimation at any rate. How about putting the recent extortionate fare hikes towards some more fuel cell buses?
So here’s a view of ESQ 64992 (LK53 MBU), the second of the three fuel cell Citaros, at the RV1’s Aldwych terminus on 14th November 2005.

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9 Comments »

  1. I think it will a mistake just to give up now. Other cities don’t seem to have lost faith in their vehicles up till now. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning my blog with a link to photos of “our vehicles”

    Steve

    http://isarsteve.de/blog/index.php?/archives/117-I-think-its-January-the-10th…html

    Comment by IsarSteve — Thursday 11 January 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  2. They were acutally part of a larger trial, as I’m sure some went to Austraillia. I maybe wrong.

    And why can’t they still be operated, but not on a trial!

    Comment by Arriva436 — Friday 12 January 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  3. The whole point is that it’s a trial. The vehicles are going back to Mercedes now so that they can strip them down and see how they’ve performed over the duration of the trial. I’m willing to bet that the other fuel-cell buses in this trial will also now end up being withdrawn and similarly sent back to be checked out, as they will have been in different environments.

    Why should the public be “privy to the results”? Why would the general public even give a monkey’s chuff about it? It’s company confidential no doubt, and I’m sure other companies would love to get their hands on Mercedes’ data without having to to go the expense of building their fuel cell buses and running their own trial.

    And sorry what extortionate fare hikes? Travelcards went up as normal. Oyster pre-pay just about stayed unchanged. It’s only the cash fares that changed greatly, and that’s to encourage offbus and offstation ticketing, which is no bad thing.

    Comment by Womble — Saturday 13 January 2007 @ 9:00 am

  4. …#3 Agreed, agreed, agreed!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Saturday 13 January 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  5. I meant privy to the results as to whether the trials have been a success or a failure; if the former, then obviously the PR would be terrific, given that the media and the public at large continue to blame buses (most unfairly) for the world’s pollution ills.
    I now hear one of them is to be dismantled by M-B, as you suggest, while the other two are going to museums (Science Museum and LT Museum).
    I really do hope that some sort of future path is to be made clear for hydrogen fuel cells, whatever kind of vehicles they power; I thought the buses were great.

    Comment by londonbuspageinexile — Saturday 13 January 2007 @ 7:42 pm

  6. ….#5 We only played Devil’s Advocate, to get YOU, our leader, to comment!?!? I’m enjoying this new format immensely – pity we had to wait a year……..but worth the wait!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Sunday 14 January 2007 @ 9:39 am

  7. It seems the trial was originally intended to finish in December 2005 but was extended until January 2007. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/buses/environmental/fuel-cell.asp

    Comment by Dick — Wednesday 7 February 2007 @ 5:00 pm

  8. Yes, you are right #7, the trial was extended

    Comment by Arriva436 — Wednesday 7 February 2007 @ 6:39 pm

  9. I had the dubious honour of driving the first fuel cell bus in public service in London on the 25 (remember where they operated before the RV1). And in my personal experience found them as reliable as the diesel engined vehicles. Strange sensation however driving a forty foot milk float.

    Comment by fearless — Thursday 8 March 2007 @ 9:04 pm


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