ABC Magazine Stories, Bus Industry News

ABC Issue 427 – Out Now!

Zero-emissions discussions may have originally been all about electric buses, but the rising tide of hydrogen fuel-cell technology is proving to be an enticing option for the local industry.


While the zero-emissions vehicle transition discussion is being dominated by the latest in battery electric bus technology, there’s another alternative that is beginning to rise in popularity.

Hydrogen fuel-cell technology, much like its electric counterpart, is certainly no new innovation. Back in 1807, Swiss inventor Francois Isaac de Rivaz filled a balloon with hydrogen and oxygen to create the first hydrogen fuelled vehicle.

Fast forward more than two centuries and heavy vehicles are joining the party. While hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid options have become more and more common for cars, only now are manufacturers and operators beginning to see the potential for this technology in buses in Australia.

Our country’s unique climate and terrain begs for a fuel technology that offers the range and refuelling capabilities of hydrogen. Unlike de Rivaz’s invention in the early 19th century, modern hydrogen fuel-cell buses are safer than ever before and provide unique ways of extending the range of electric buses. 

The March edition of ABC Magazine looks into the intriguing history of hydrogen fuel-cell heavy vehicles, starting with the latest designs emerging from BLK Auto through its subsidiary HDrive. The end result, which graces our cover this month and from page 18 onwards, is an exciting zero-emissions alternative that has already been tested along the rugged hills of Wollongong and outer NSW. If that isn’t a stern enough trial for a bus, then nothing may ever be.

We then take it right back to the start for hydrogen fuel-cell buses in Australia. While the concept may seem new for many of us in the industry, the first hydrogen fuel-cell bus trial down under was actually held in the early 2000s in Perth. Check out the interesting, little-known tale from an integral member of this trial from page 22.

RELATED ARTICLE: ABC Issue 426 – Out Now!

In timely fashion, this edition also coincides with a major milestone in Australia’s hydrogen bus market for local manufacturer ARCC who earlier this month put its hydrogen fuel-cell bus on trial with NSW operator Red Bus Services this month. See the story on page 26. 

As we delve further into the technology, the livelier and more enticing it gets. Learn more about the hydrogen buses about to hit our roads through Foton Mobility, which has used 15 years of global experience in hydrogen technology to tailor its new vehicle to Australian operations on page 34.

Much like in the battery electric game, hydrogen fuel-cell technology isn’t limited by the vehicle innovation – it’s also the infrastructure that requires development. On page 40, Viva Energy is helping fix this problem and encourage hydrogen conversations. It is nearly done designing its historic hydrogen refuelling station and is expecting to commence construction in Geelong, Victoria, later this year. 

There’s more to this edition than simply hydrogen. In mid-February, ABC launched its Best Bus photo competition. Now, we’re ready to crown a winner out of a massive pack of photos sent in. We were also extremely fortunate to sit down with retiring Queensland bus industry icon Jim Hill and discuss his career in the sector (see page 28).

When it wasn’t about hydrogen, it was about electric. We visited Victoria’s first fully electric bus depot at Ventura Bus Lines’ Ivanhoe site and found out just what can be done when it comes to revamping old spaces with new energy (page 32). 

On the safety side, United Safety & Survivability Corporation’s Fogmaker system is ensuring Tassielink Transit’s new Scania fleet is safer than ever on page 37.

This edition of ABC shows just how much is happening in the hustle and bustle of the bus and coach industry. We hope you enjoy catching up on another exciting month of news.

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