SATA – the lift company responsible for Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes has confirmed it has ordered five new hydrogen-powered snow groomers (fondly known ‘Piste Bashers’ to Brits) and three new zero-emission hydrogen buses.

The vehicles from Green Corp Konnection (GCK) will replace existing diesel engines to reduce the impact of slope management on the environment.

Using models from the German company Kässbohrer, GCK will integrate a 320 kilowatt (kW) electric motor with a maximum torque of 850 Newton-meter (Nm). The fuel cell will produce 150 kW of energy and will be powered by 70 kg of hydrogen at 700 bar, stored in a set of ‘automotive-approved’ tanks. 

Equivalent to existing diesel vehicles

The hydrogen snow groomers will be able to operate continuously for 8 hours and have climbing and acceleration capacities identical to the standard vehicles. 

In addition, Alpe d’Huez resort has ordered a hydrogen retrofit for three zero-emission buses in partnership with Resalp. 

Each bus’s engine will be replaced by a 210 kW electric motor powered by a 55 kW fuel cell coupled to a 15 KWh battery. 

The first prototype will also be delivered at the end of 2022 before entering the approval phase in 2023 with a view to commissioning the three vehicles in early 2024.