Arcola Energy has given more detail on the A-Drive hydrogen fuel cell-electric drivetrain that it will supply for use in buses, including the Optare Metrodecker H2.

The A-Drive platform is a scalable powertrain that Arcola says will be introduced to more bus models in 2021. Discussions are already underway in that area. It will also be used in other transport applications, including rail.

Arcola CEO Dr Ben Todd says that the ‘drop in’ A-Drive will “readily deliver twice the practical range of battery-only solutions”. Dr Todd adds that it will allow hydrogen fuel cell-electric power to be achieved quickly. A-Drive integrates each system required of such a driveline: The fuel cell, batteries, hydrogen storage, power electronics, thermal management, the motor and brakes.

Batteries are specified according to the requirements of the application and they recapture braking energy. When the Metrodecker H2 was announced, Arcola and Optare said that it will be capable of carrying over 90 passengers and deliver a range of over 250 miles.

Adds Dr Todd: “The A-Drive is adaptable to several vehicle types and applications, saving both development time and cost. As the platform is a production-ready solution, we can help to accelerate the introduction of the critical heavy-duty transport solutions that are required to meet the government’s timescales for reaching net zero carbon emissions.”

Arcola says that the A-Drive platform is supported by its vehicle integration engineering capacity, in-house fleet monitoring, hydrogen refuelling and project financing expertise.

The Metrodecker H2 will sit alongside Optare’s established battery-electric range, including the Metrodecker EV (pictured). At the time that the Metrodecker H2’s was announced, the Sherburn in Elmet manufacturer said that it sees opportunities for hydrogen fuel cell-electric power on interurban routes, and in export markets where air-conditioning energy draw is high.