New city-bus based on Renault Master ZE-h marks first OEM collaboration for Promech

Promech Technologies, the UK-based commercial vehicle technology, chassis and powertrain integration specialist, has announced a partnership agreement with Renault Group and its specialist vehicle subsidiary, PVI.

The Renault Master City Bus H2-TECH – an electric-hydrogen city-bus based on a Renault Master ZE-h platform – represents the first product development in the partnership and was unveiled earlier this month at Salon des Maires in Paris by HYVIA, a joint venture between Renault Group, European leader in electric LCVs, and the leader in hydrogen solutions, Plug Power Inc.

The announcement signals the first major OEM collaboration for the newly-formed Promech Technologies company. Part of the Woodall Nicholson group of specialist vehicle brands, Promech is also receiving substantial investment for a new, 54,000 sq.ft. purpose-built facility in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, scheduled for opening in autumn 2022.

The Promech / Renault /Group / PVI partnership will also see the development of a wider range of city-buses with low-floor battery-electric / hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology for UK and European markets. A complete product line-up is expected to be available to order from 2022.

The new HYVIA city-bus dovetails the automotive industry’s two leading New Energy drive systems – batter y electric and HFC – made possible by integration with Promech’s low-floor chassis and body transformation. The result provides scope to deliver range-extending, zero-emissions vehicles to meet customer requirements across three distinct market sectors including city-bus passenger transport, urban distribution, and emergency services.

Unique Proposition  

Featuring Promech’s chassis and lightweight body engineering expertise, the vehicle presents a unique proposition for operators. Crucial to its appeal is Promech’s structural integration of the battery electric and HFC components. With its low-floor chassis conversion expertise, Promech has designed a 250mm single-step access to the passenger area with underfloor positioning of the battery pack for stability. Similarly, novel design and integration of the HFC installation does not compromise passenger carrying capability or the external vehicle dimensions. The combination brings a fully optimised solution, particularly for the bus / coach and Emergency Services sectors.

Importantly, the design provides single-step access, a low, flat floor to all seats and effortless wheelchair accessibility integrated into a robust monocoque body construction. The monocoque design enables full utilisation of available space, while maintaining excellent internal passenger height and a light, spacious environment complimented by the use of panoramic windows; something rarely seen on a city-bus of this size.

The dual-powered vehicle will benefit from a fully electric, emissions-free powertrain comprising a 33kWh Lithium-ion battery and supplemented by a roof-mounted and range-extending 30kW hydrogen fuel-cell. The combination delivers a substantial and commercially viable range of 300km between recharging.

Promech Technologies is already a key provider of technologies, including eMobility, for some of the UK’s leading specialist vehicle brands, including Coleman Milne, Mellor, Treka Bus and VCS – all members of the Woodall Nicholson brand stable.

Woodall Nicholson’s Chief Technology Officer, John Randerson, said, “The ingenuity and expertise of the Promech team allowed us to rethink how battery electric and HFC components are integrated and how this might be adapted for the European city bus market; practically extending vehicle range while not compromising internal space. The design briefing was clear,” he said, “to develop a specialist integration system supporting two zero-emission solutions while delivering user ergonomics for our customers. We are delighted with the city-bus solution,” he added, “it’s great to see what can be achieved on a vehicle of this size.”