Optare and Arcola Energy have released details of the hydrogen fuel cell-electric Metrodecker H2 double-decker. The two companies say it will deliver a capacity of over 90 passengers and a zero-emission range of up to 250 miles. It will complement Optare’s battery-electric Metrodecker EV (pictured).

The first order for the Metrodecker H2 should be signed soon and the initial examples are scheduled to enter service in 2021.

The Optare Metrodecker H2 uses the Metrodecker EV platform. Into that is incorporated a hydrogen fuel cell powerpack that has been developed by Arcola. It will be fitted to base vehicles either at Arcola’s Liverpool plant or at a site that the zero-emission technology specialist is to establish in Dundee.

Says Arcola CEO Dr Ben Todd: “The innovative structural design of Optare buses makes them ideally suited to housing zero-emission powertrains, and most importantly, for producing vehicles that we believe will be the safest, most efficient and easiest to maintain in their class.”

Dr Todd adds that installation of the fuel cell package will be done quickly. That is “a key part of our design philosophy and the reason the buses will be so simple to maintain.” The package is not a retrofit, he adds; Metrodecker H2s will be first certified and registered as hydrogen-fuelled buses.

Adds Optare CEO Graham Belgum: “We believe that hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to complement our award-winning battery-electric bus range. We look forward to working closely with Arcola to increase our understanding of the technology and its performance in service.

“We see applications for hydrogen fuel cells on interurban routes in temperate climates, and in higher ambient temperature environments where air-conditioning is essential and energy consumption is high.”