Advocates of a Hydrogen future in transportation, many of whom have long insisted that “there’s no silver bullet” in moving our cars, trucks and buses away from fossil fuels, are discovering that cities studying their options are overwhelmingly moving their transit fleets to battery electric buses.
This week, the Toronto Transit Commission received delivery of their first electric bus. After a month of staff training and testing it will hit Toronto streets, the first of 60 identical vehicles that will be serving commuters by the end of the year.
The reasons Toronto went electric are much the same as European cities who’ve made the same choice after trying out the Hydrogen alternative.
The major issues for Hydrogen remain the high well to wheels carbon footprint of its creation ( 5Kg of CO2 per Kg produced ), the higher cost and resource impact of producing it from water, and the corrosive aspect of the gas which leads to high maintenance expenses.
Earlier this year, Hamburg, Germany, returned their entire fleet of Hydrogen powered buses to the manufacturer (Mercedes) finding them too expensive to operate and service as well as encountering issues placing fuel dispensers in residential neighborhoods.
Hamburg has replaced those vehicles with 35 electric buses. Meanwhile, the city of Weisbaden has added 56 electric buses to its fleet as more German manufacturers roll out new mass transit models.
Many of those manufacturers, seeing the success of one heavy electric model and noting the rapid increase in battery efficiency for oversize vehicles are already rolling out other heavy trucks and equipment to good reviews.