Zero-emission bus debuts in California

SunLine Transit Agency put into service Friday a new zero-emission bus that will have the capability to cover any route in its service territory – even with the air conditioner operating at maximum levels in the middle of the summer.

With funding from the private sector, the Federal Transit Administration, and the California Energy Commission, SunLine Transit unveiled a bus that will be powered by batteries. This electric bus varies from others in that it will have a small fuel cell on board to charge the battery and enable a 250-300-mile daily route. The only “emission” from the hydrogen fuel cell is water, the company says.

SunLine Transit agency has been a leading innovator in the national transit industry. This bus represents the eighth generation bus utilizing fuel cell technology placed in revenue service in the Coachella Valley.

“After testing several different fuel cell technologies over the years, we believe we may have identified the configuration that will allow the transit and heavy-truck industry to successfully deploy fuel cell technology over the next decade,” says Lauren Skiver, general manager of SunLine Transit Agency.

Funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the California Energy Commission allowed the industry team to develop and integrate an advanced fuel cell design that lowers the over-all cost of the bus by 70 percent. The bus, which meets the federal government’s strict “Buy America” requirements, will be produced by ElDorado National, which is based in Riverside, Calif. SunLine says the 80-kW fuel cell was built by US Hybrid, based in Torrance, Calif. BAE Systems is the over-all system integrator and provider of the powertrain and electronics.

“We greatly appreciate the support provided by both the Federal Transit Administration and the California Energy Commission for this project. The funding from these two agencies enabled the team to develop a new pathway for a full service zero emission bus. This bus, tested first by SunLine Transit, will provide yet another option for transit districts looking to make the shift to zero emissions,” adds CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel.

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