We Are Ballard

Ballard Newsletter - January 2016

Welcome to this issue of Ballard's newsletter, where you'll find the latest on how we are meeting the power needs of customers through the delivery of high value, clean energy products. In this issue we are focusing on fuel cell powered heavy duty vehicles, with topics including:

  • Supporting clean urban transportation in China
  • Case study: Transport for London's fuel cell bus fleet
  • Large scale fleet deployments in Europe
  • Ballard's expanded FCveloCity® product portfolio
  • Progress on the development of the world's first hydrogen fuel cell tram
  • Upcoming industry events

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Supporting Clean Urban Transportation in China

The size and rapid growth of China’s economy has resulted in considerably larger carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than other nations. In fact, total carbon emissions in China already equal the emissions from the U.S. and the E.U. combined1. Given the magnitude and growth rate of China's carbon emissions, the country has become a critical partner in developing policy approaches to reducing global CO2 emissions.
In 2011, a new energy program was launched, involving 48 Chinese cities with an objective of expanding public transit while also reducing the number of vehicles in cities. One of the program’s specific goals is to deploy more than 1,000 clean energy buses in each of the participating cities, taking advantage of government subsidies to facilitate this expansion. Fuel cell buses and electric buses are eligible for a subsidy of approximately USD$150,000, through 2017. In addition, hydrogen fueling stations are eligible for a further subsidy of approximately USD$650,000.

Government support for clean energy mass transit solutions in China, together with acknowledgement of the severe air quality issues, certainly makes fuel cell powered buses and trams an intriguing market opportunity. Ballard is aggressively pursuing this opportunity, taking a critical role in the industry’s value chain and realizing significant early success. Ballard’s strategy is to deliver proprietary fuel cell stacks, along with technology licenses for the localization of fuel cell module assembly. Ballard will benefit from the long-term recurring royalties leveraged to unit volumes of locally assembled modules, while Chinese integrators and solution providers gain access to Ballard’s world leading fuel cell technology for motive applications.

For Ballard, having strong local partners is key in opening the Chinese market in that it facilitates access to provincial-level subsidies and relationships with local transit operators, the end users. Ballard is currently partnered with three companies in China and recent progress in the marketplace has been substantial, including:

  • A $17M agreement with Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Company (Synergy) in support of their planned deployment of approximately 300 fuel cell powered buses in the cities of Foshan and Yunfu, China.
  • A $10M agreement for power products and technology solutions to support 33 new buses with partners Synergy and Nantong Zehe New Energy Technology Company (Zehe). The municipal governments in the cities of Yunfu and Rugao plan to have fuel cell bus fleets operating in revenue service in 2016.
  • A $6M joint development agreement and a supply agreement to develop and commercialize a fuel cell engine specifically designed for integration into low floor trams manufactured by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Company, Ltd. Initial deployment of eight fuel cell powered trams is planned by the city of Foshan in 2017.
  • A $3M agreement with Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company, Ltd. for the development of a new fuel cell module that will be designed to meet the requirements of tram or Modern Ground Rail Transit Equipment applications.

In 2016, Ballard has plans to further its geographical reach within China through the addition of local partners in new regions. While regulations do not restrict cross-region bus sales, local city governments typically subsidize their city bus operators, giving officials a degree of influence regarding purchasing decisions2. Expanding partnerships will be key to realizing the full potential of the clean energy bus market in China.

1 China's Carbon Emissions Report 2015
2 Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association

Case Study:  Transport for London's Fuel Cell Bus Fleet

As part of its publicly stated goal to reduce CO2 emissions 60% from the 1990 level by 2025, the City of London has decided to establish an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2020 in the central city and is pursuing an ambitious program to introduce low-emission powertrains to its bus fleet. In support of this plan, Ballard’s FCveloCity®-HD powered fuel cell buses operated by Transport for London (TfL) are now an established fixture of the scenic RV1 route, taking passengers past major landmarks including Tower Bridge, the London Eye and Covent Garden.

As Kit Malthouse, the Former Deputy Mayor of London has stated: “We want London to be at the forefront of the low-emission revolution and getting these buses on the road is the first step."  Results of the program have been exceptional. What started as a fleet of three fuel cell buses in 2003, grew to eight buses, with two more planned for delivery by bus manufacturer, Van Hool in 2017. Together, the eight buses have logged more than 107,000 hours of service, covering over 690,000 kilometers. A single FCveloCity® motive module installed in a TfL bus recently set an important milestone of 20,000 hours of continuous operation without replacement or repairs. For further details regarding the bus deployment and performance metrics access this comprehensive case study recently published by Ballard.

The fuel cell powered bus fleet operated by the City of London is part of a series of programs supporting the deployment of fuel cell bus fleets throughout Europe funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). Europe has been at the forefront of introducing clean energy transit buses to the market place. In the last decade, several large-scale projects demonstrated that fuel cell buses can be operated safely on European roads. The eight buses are operated under the Clean Hydrogen in European Cities project (CHIC),  building on the expertise acquired in the framework of previous fuel cell bus projects including the HyFLEET:CUTE project (2006-2009) and CUTE project (2001-2006).

FCH JU Calls for Large Scale Fuel Cell Bus Fleets

Europe's Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) has just published its 2016 call for proposals, including a topic covering the large scale validation of fuel cell bus fleets. Earlier EU programs (CHIC, High VLOCity, HyTransit and 3EMotion) have shown a 75% price reduction of the bus since 1990 with volumes remaining small, but to achieve further cost reductions more significant fleet sizes are required.

This topic calls for simultaneous deployment and demonstration of larger scale fuel cell bus fleets of at least 100 fuel cell buses consisting of at least three locations with a minimum of twenty buses per depot. The project will serve to analyze the operation of large fleets of buses and their impact on everyday heavy usage bus operation, including the specific purchasing mechanisms.
The stated volumes in this call for proposals represents a significant step forward from the current scale of deployments in Europe. These increased volumes of fuel cell powered buses would support cost and price reductions through economies-of-scale, enabling fuel cell solutions to compete more effectively with incumbent transit technologies.

The FCH JU is a public-private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies by providing subsidies for eligible projects through a cost share mechanism. The organization’s aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realizing their potential as a commercial instrument that contributes to a carbon-lean energy system. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 2016.

Find the complete call for proposal on the European Commission's website.

FCveloCity® Motive Module Product Portfolio

In response to growing customer demand, Ballard is proud to introduce the comprehensive FCveloCity® motive module product line for zero-emission city transit applications. Recognizing that around the world mass transit vehicles come in a variety of sizes with varying duty cycles and hybridization levels, Ballard has developed a portfolio of power modules that meet transit operators’ requirements for different heavy duty vehicles.


Designed for scalability, ease of integration and serviceability the FCveloCity® motive module product line is now available in various configurations between 30kW and 200kW, each offering  – 
  • Even stronger performance, including unmatched fuel efficiency and durability as well as the ability to support a wide range of operating conditions; 
  • Simplified, compact design, allowing flexible and easy integration into vehicle drive trains; and 
  • Reduced cost.

The FCveloCity®-MD lower power output units are smallest in size, making them best suited to small transit buses and as battery hybrid range extenders. At the largest end of the power scale, the FCveloCity®-XD motive modules are being integrated into light rail and marine applications. The FCveloCity®-HD motive module continues to be the preeminent choice for powering full size hybrid electric transit buses.

FCveloCity®:  Accelerating fuel cell heavy duty vehicle development towards commercialization.


Development of World’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tram Progresses Quickly

In March 2015, Ballard announced that the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered fixed rail electric tram was successfully demonstrated at a ceremonial event held in Qingdao, China. The tram, developed in partnership with CRRC Qingdao Sifang Company and powered by Ballard’s FCveloCity® motive modules, had been built in just a few short months.

Progress has been made quickly, with industry coming together to form an overall project plan for the build and operation of the fuel cell powered tram. Since that launch event, the tram has undergone further development work and has now successfully passed a preliminary design review. At the design review event in October 2015, thirteen experts from the Chinese rail industry reviewed and approved the fuel cell tram design, technical standards and operational route.

This first hydrogen fuel cell tram will operate on a 6.6km rail line in the Gaoming district of Foshan, connecting a subway line with a railway station. The line will have ten stations, including a station for hydrogen refueling.  The top speed of the tram is 80km per hour, but will typically run at 30km per hour between stations, which is faster than a transit bus. The low floor bus is spacious, with a load capacity of 300 people, resulting in a one-way capacity of 20,000 riders per hour.

A hydrogen fuel cell tram offers many advantages to transit operators looking to deploy clean energy vehicles.  A tram operates at street level, making it faster and less expensive to install than a subway line. With the fuel cell providing power, unsightly overhead catenary lines are unnecessary. Trams are well suited to a variety of urban cities, whether providing transport within a downtown core or efficiently moving riders from outer suburban areas to the downtown.


Upcoming Industry Events

SAE 2016 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Tech Symposium

February 9 - 11, 2016
Anaheim, California, USA

This event addresses critical information on both the technical developments in electronic vehicle technologies as well as the business decisions around technology development and implementation. Learn more

CHBC Technology Tour of SunLine Transit Operations

February 12, 2016
Thousand Palms, California, USA

SunLine Transit is a leader in renewable energy zero emission buses and operates one of the largest fleets of hydrogen fuel cell buses in the nation. At this California Hydrogen Business Council event, tour SunLine Transit Agency's fuel cell bus operations, followed by a luncheon on-site. Register here

FC Expo

March 2 - 4, 2016
Tokyo, Japan

Leading international exhibition showcasing various technologies, components, materials, devices and finished fuel cells for hydrogen and fuel cell R&D and manufacturing. Learn more

Hannover Messe

April 25 - 29, 2016
Hannover, Germany

Europe’s largest hydrogen, fuel cells and battery exhibition. Learn more

Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo

May 2 - 5, 2016
Long Beach, California, USA

All weight classes and alternative fuel types are represented at the ACT Expo, providing a one-stop shop for fleets to learn how to reduce costs and emissions. Learn more


September 20 - 23, 2016
Berlin, Germany

InnoTrans is the leading international trade fair for transport technology and takes place every two years in Berlin. Learn more