Electric bus manufacturer New Flyer of America Inc. announced a test demonstration for the Orange County Transportation Authority (“OCTA”) achieved 350-miles of zero-emission range with a New Flyer forty-foot, heavy-duty fuel cell-electric Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ bus. These results exceeded the 300-mile range performance target by 17 percent without refueling.
The forty-foot Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ was equipped with a Ballard Power Systems fuel cell, producing electricity in motion to continuously recharge the 100 kWh of batteries to power a Siemens electric drive motor. The bus operated for 28 hours and achieved 10.4 miles per diesel gallon equivalent. When the hydrogen tanks were fully depleted, the zero-emission bus (“ZEB”) operated on battery reserve for an additional 20 miles, to achieve a combined range of 350 miles.
The demonstration was completed on OCTA’s Route 47 operating from Fullerton to Newport Beach in April 2019 with a payload representing fully-seated passenger capacity.
“This is a significant milestone for OCTA, New Flyer, Ballard Power Systems, California Air Resources Board, and Center for Transportation and the Environment,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer. “The fuel cell with stored hydrogen performed ideally as an on-board battery charger, allowed the bus to reach 350 miles without refueling or connecting to the electric grid. This represents a significant team accomplishment, and celebrates the power of fuel cell-electric buses – alongside battery-electric – as effective means to deploy zero-emission solutions across America.”
As announced April 2018, New Flyer is delivering 10 forty-foot fuel cell-electric Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ buses to OCTA, along with 10 of the same model to the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District under the Fuel Cell Electric Bus Commercialization Consortium Project, funded by the California Air Resources Board and its California Climate Investments Program (“CCI”). CCI is a statewide program putting cap-and-trade dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment. CTE is a non-profit organization helping transit agencies and bus manufacturers to develop and deploy zero-emission, fuel cell electric, and battery-electric transit buses.
“Under California’s Innovative Clean Transit regulation, starting in 2023 large transit fleets will be required to purchase ZEBs for at least 25 percent of total procurements, ultimately transitioning to 100 percent ZEBs by 2040,” said Jaimie Levin, Senior Project Manager and Director of West Coast Operations for the Center for Transportation and the Environment. “This New Flyer demonstration shows fuel cell-electric buses can play a critical role in a zero-emission fleet, operating 24 hours a day with refueling in as little as six minutes, allowing the highest utilization possible.”
New Flyer manufactures the Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ in forty-foot and sixty-foot lengths. In March 2019, New Flyer announced that both had successfully completed the Federal Transit Administration Model Bus Testing Program at Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ utilizes the same reliable drive system as New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE™ all-battery electric bus.