Fuel cell buses: Updates from the Netherlands (May 2018)

In the Netherlands, different actions are being taken for the introduction of zero emission fuel cell buses in public transport. As a result of the national Fuelvision, co-funded under the Life programme by the European Commission, 3 pilots with a total number of 8 fuel cell buses are currently running in the provinces of South-Holland, Groningen-Drenthe and North-Brabant. These same provinces are teaming up to introduce another 50 zero emission buses: 20 in South-Holland, 20 in Groningen-Drenthe and 10 in North-Brabant. This cooperation between the regional governments and the public transport authorities is part of the European project JIVE2. JIVE2 has received a grant of € 7,5 million from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the regional governments contribute another € 7,5 million to the deployment of the buses.

The province of North-Brabant and the municipality of Breda signed a letter of intent to work together on establishing a hydrogen refueling station that can accommodate 10 buses, 10 heavy duty garbage trucks and several cars. The buses will be deployed by the transport operator Arriva and the garbage trucks will be deployed by the municipality. The final decision on the deployment of these vehicles will be taken in September 2018.

In March 2018 a market consultation started as part of the JIVE2 project. In interviews with different key stakeholders, the issue of procuring the buses in the most economic way have been discussed along with the question if and how joint-procurement could have an added value in this process. As a result, the provinces of South-Holland and North-Brabant are exploring a joint tender in the form of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the purchase and deployment of 30 buses. In the tender of the Groningen-Drenthe concession for public transport it is specified that the winning operator has an option to purchase 20 fuel cell buses included in the joint-procurement organized by South-Holland and North-Brabant.