Public Transportation Revolution: From CUTE to CHIC
In an effort to create energy efficient, environmentally clean public transportation systems, Europe has spent the last decade testing fuel cell electric buses that utilize hydrogen fuel cells in lieu of traditional diesel. The Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project is the latest and most exciting development in this sector, but it was preceded by the Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) and the HyFleet: CUTE, two highly successful programs that have worked to lay the foundation for a revolution in the European public transportation system.
Exploring CHIC’s Origins: CUTE
The original CUTE project started with only a few units, but in just two years it expanded to 27 buses across 8 European cities, including Hamburg, London, Stockholm, Porto, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Luxembourg, Madrid and Amsterdam. Overall, this first incarnation of CUTE ran from 2001 to 2006, and the project was deemed a success, paving the way for the next incarnation: HyFleet. This second project was responsible for 33 new and improved buses with updated internal combustion engines. On a whole, it garnered even more public support for the program, operating in 9 cities around the world.
The Future of CHIC
After the wild success of the CUTE and HyFleet:CUTE programs, the push to commercialize fuel cell electric buses began, and CHIC was born. The project spans 14 European regions and is funded via a joint partnership between the European Union’s Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the European Commission, with a budget of € 1.4 billion in total for the period between 2014 and 2020.
During the start-up phase, CHIC has operated 37 buses in the same regions as the CUTE programs, as these areas are already accustomed to and have some of the infrastructure in place for hydrogen-based transport. Phase one expands operations from Cologne, Berlin and Whistler to London, Oslo, Aargau, Bolzano, and Milan with 26 additional buses. Phase two will complete the expansion, although the exact targeted regions have not yet been nailed down. In total, the CHIC program is expected to function in 14 different regions across Europe...
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