BLK Auto-H Drive Hydrgen Bus Lanuch - Shell Harbour Regional Airport, Shell Harbour on November 30, 2022. PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON --- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --- NO ARCHIVING --- IMAGE REUSAGE FEES DO APPLY © Patrick HAMILTON

Australian company HDrive has revealed a hydrogen fuel cell double decker bus along with an electric shuttle bus at a media event at Shellharbour airport and says the buses might be assembled in Australia at some point in the future.

The company has been launched to market zero emission vehicles as a specialist zero emissions distributor in Australia, specialising in hydrogen and battery electric vehicles.

The company revealed the buses, both made in China by Wisdom Motor with the hydrogen powered double decker using Ballard fuel cell technology, while the battery electric shuttle bus is a similar size and look to a Hino Poncho and will also form a part of the HDrive operation.

The hydrogen fuel cell bus has a capacity of 100 occupants including the driver, with 79 seated and 20 standing across two levels. The 11.98 metre bus has a height of 4.4 metres  and weighs in at 16 tonnes tare weight with a GVM of 22 tonnes

H Drive says the Wisdom FC 120DD Double Decker has the ability to  tackle a maximum grade of 17 per cent and can  maintain 20 km/h at a speed of 20 km/h with a maximum speed of 80km/h and a range on its hydrogen tanks of 300km, with the ability to refuel in around 15 min.

It is fitted with a 105.3 kWh battery with electricity provided from a Ballard  WEF 110-1 fuel cell  providing power to the ZF AVE 130 axle mounted electric motor , with ZF  air suspension on all axles including the ZF RL 82 tag axle , while it runs disc brakes all around.

General manager Ben Kiddle said it is HDrive’s intention to potentially invest in the manufacturing in the Illawarra around the area near the Shellharbour airport where he says it will also carry out vehicle development.

“There’s lots of opportunity for employment, lots of people are seeking employment, and lots of trade skills around the area as well,” said Kiddle.

 Kiddle has worked in the UK for the past 20 years  and has worked on hydrogen and battery electric buses during that  time and brings that knowledge and skill to the task of running H Drive.

“It was a great opportunity for me to further my skills, my career in heavy vehicle, the chemical industry and my my learnings for pushing city buses along with zero emission technologies,” he said.

That was 20 years ago and we were running Hydrogen buses in London back then and now  we have a hydrogen bus here in Australia.

Kiddle said HDrive knows what the challenges are and what needs to be done to engineer these vehicles for Australian conditions.

 divisions a tribe of employees invited You all for this event as partners stakeholders for a better future, a future where our children will learn, the change is achievable. The change is acceptable, and the change can be made.

“We’ve brought this double decker bus here to the Illawarra to demonstrate that hydrogen fuel cell technology is real and to show that it’s the ideal technology for use in the commercial transport industry,“ he said.

Kiddle said that HDrive will have the largest portfolio of zero emission heavy passenger and  commercial vehicles available in Australia.

“We will have solutions in battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, ranging from four and a half tonnes to 70 tonnes in commercial, and  from 13 passengers to 100 passengers in buses which could see a varying range of sizes,” said Kiddle.

“We intend to do more than just sell vehicles, we need to provide solutions for the industry,”  he said.

“We are work closely with our energy partners to ensure that vehicles are delivered with options for charging, hydrogen storage, supply  and production solutions  and to ensure that our customers are completely ready to drive their businesses to a greener future,” he added.

The president of Bus NSW  John King,  was on hand at the launch  having already been an early adopter of battery electric vehicles during a trial on the South Coast of NSW in 2018.

‘ As president of Bus NSW, it pleases me greatly to see the hydrogen fuel cell bus behind us today,” said John King.

“In  2019 the industry was given a challenge to start transitioning the fleet to zero emissions, an ambitious challenge, however, our industry has always stood up, it always will stand up to bring the solution to government and not the problem,” he said.

HDrive is working with hydrogen supplier Pure Hydrogen and it is aiming to  get  the cost of hydrogren down to about $20 per kilo which would be parity with the cost  of diesel.

“We believe we’re going to get it to  a lot less than that, and we would be looking to drive partnerships with transport operators and all our energy suppliers, and we’ve already started that journey,” said Ben Kiddle.