Hydrogen Power is Transforming the Transportation Bus Industry
In June 2021, the Alameda Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) signed a contract with New Flyer of America Inc to order 20 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses for their fleet. AC Transit is located in Oakland, California, and is one of the largest bus-only systems in America. Their fleet of buses provides over 52 million rides each year.
These 40-foot Xcelsior CHARGE H2 heavy-duty transit buses feature 350 miles of range on a single fueling with refill times of only 6 to 20 minutes. Excess fuel cell heat rejected from the system is captured in a heat exchanger and used to supplement the buses’ HVAC system.
NFI, a subsidiary of New Flyer of America and producer of the Xcelsior CHARGE H2 heavy-duty transit buses, is excited about this partnership:
“With more Xcelsior CHARGE H2 fuel cell buses in its fleet, AC Transit can count on proven range performance, cleaner transportation, reduced noise pollution, and elimination of greenhouse gases – with buses that produce only clean water vapor from the tailpipe,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer and MCI.
This isn’t AC Transit’s first foray into hydrogen-powered vehicles, though. Their fleet already includes a dozen hybrid-electric fuel cell buses powered by 120 kW UTC fuel cell technology. Current models achieve an operating range of 220-240 miles on a full tank of hydrogen fuel. According to AC Transit, they feel these buses are a good investment because of their impact on the environment and their business by:
- Providing electric power at an average efficiency of 52%, compared to mid to high 30’s of standard grid power,
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,500 tons/year, and
- Saving over $3 million in energy costs over ten years.
Drivers and passengers alike enjoy the ride in a hydrogen fuel cell bus. These vehicles have zero emissions, run quietly, feature regenerative braking, and are twice as fuel-efficient as diesel. Perhaps best of all, there’s no foul-smelling diesel exhaust to get trapped in the bus or experienced by others outside of the bus which is truly an aid in transforming the transportation bus industry.
What obstacles are in the way for transit companies to adopt hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?
Many other transportation companies use hydrogen fuel buses in their fleet because of the smooth ride, easy maintenance, and positive impact on the environment. However, because few hydrogen fueling stations outside of California, most transit companies rely on internal fueling centers to keep the fleet powered up.
For example, AC Transit operates two energy stations–the Emeryville Station and the Oakland Station to generate hydrogen fuel. Supply is used to power their fleets and is also available for sale to the public to fuel passenger cars.
These investments are second nature for many California businesses. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) Innovative Clean Transit Regulation requires Californian transportation companies to move to zero-emission bus fleets by 2040.
PowerTap Hydrogen, however, makes it easy and accessible for any transportation company in America to generate fuel to power their fleets on-site with a small footprint and reasonable investment.
PowerTap Hydrogen Makes Innovation Accessible to Everyone
The Andretti Group and PowerTap Hydrogen make it easy for fuel stations to provide this innovative product to consumers. Our patented system allows businesses to produce hydrogen fuel on-site in less than 1000 square feet of space and access to city water, natural gas, and electricity. With PowerTap Hydrogen, we’ve eliminated the need for businesses to forecast hydrogen demands, wait for fuel deliveries, manage large storage systems, and the risk of running out of fuel. The Andretti Group allows you to have the right amount of fuel available to meet your customers’ needs.