Guotai Bus has decided to use PowerCell’s versatile PowerCell S2 stack in its new line of electrified buses. Yibo Zhao, Sales Area Manager Asia, explains how the technology will meet the needs and expectations of the Chinese bus manufacturer.

What type of buses are being equipped with the technology provided by Powercell?
”As a start, our technology is expected to be used in six buses designed for local traffic in Yanbian a city in the northeastern province of Jilin. The buses are assembled in Guotai Bus’s new factory, and our stacks are integrated in a system delivered by the Chinese integration company CFC.”

Why did Guotai Bus choose fuel cells for these buses?
”Many regions in China have problems with smog, the Jilin-province is no exception. Finding alternative energy sources with lower exhaust and particulate emissions is crucial. The Jilin area is very cold winter time, batteries  are drained very quickly, just like a mobile phone. But in combination with fuel cells the performance will be optimized for a full day’s operation. In addition to electricity, fuel cells also emit 80 degrees water used in the heating systems.

Why is Powercell´s S2 stack a good solution for these buses?
”Our technology is based on steel bipolar plates. It is a robust, durable construction that withstands vibrations – and more important in this case, when it warms up it distributes the temperature evenly. Thanks to this, our PowerCell S2 stack is not affected by cold weather to the same extent as for example graphite that can easily crack under cold conditions. In addition, with our steel plate solution, the buses will be easier to start up in wintertime.”


What does this mean for the drivers and the passengers?
”The technology is well proven and used within a large range of applications globally. The driver can rest assured that this technology provides full day operation, without having to worry about the battery being drained. The waste heat from the owerCell S2 stacks contributes to a comfortable temperature aboard the buses – something that is appreciated by all passengers during the cold winters of Jilin.”

The attention around fuel cells in China is huge. Why is that so?
”Within the motor vehicle sector, fuel cells are considered the best alternative option simply because there are no emissions during usage and reliable power compared to batteries. Considering smog is a real problem in most large Chinese cities, it is easy to understand that fuel cells is an interesting solution. As a forerunner within battery electric vehicles China has also come to realize that a large deployment of battery vehicles requires very high investments in charging infrastructure and grid capacity.
As a consequence China has phased out the subsidies on on battery electric cars and introduced subsidies on fuel cell electric vehicles, including buses, instead.

Q&A - Yibo Zhao