In the time span of 2006 through 2010 I wrote eight blog posts about hydrogen vehicles coming to the Vancouver BC and Whistler BC areas of Canada. Some of those posts were about hydrogen buses being built to be shown off at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
But one of the main questions that some people have asked was in regard to what happened to those hydrogen buses after the Olympics? Well the buses are still in use, primarily in the town of Whistler and will continue to run at least through March of 2014.
And not only that, as of September 2012 the fleet of 20 buses has passed the combined benchmark of 1.5 million road miles. The hydrogen bus fleet not only has served to educate the public about fuel cell vehicles, and gather performance data for the manufacturers but there has been another benefit as well.
According to marketing director for Ballard, Guy McAree, “The Whistler fleet is a wonderful reference site for potential new bus customers in various parts of the world. It has helped us secure new bus deployments in Palm Springs, London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Oslo and Delhi — and we hope to announce additional new sites in the coming months.”
Ballard designed the fuel cells for the fleet of hydrogen buses and, as stated above, has gained more business because of showcasing these buses during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The fact that the fuel cells have exceeded the 99-percent reliability standard throughout the testing even with terrain changes and temperature swings as rough as the Whistler area have proven to others that these buses are something that they will like to try out themselves.
It is expected that by the end of testing in 2014 this hydrogen bus fleet will have put on from between 2 and 3 million road miles with very few errors and downtime.