Canadian Manufacturing

Hydrogen fuel cell bus project to get underway in California

US$2.1 million demonstration project to contribute to development of green commercial vehicles

ST. CLOUD, Minn.—New Flyer Industries Inc. a heavy-duty transit bus manufacturer with plants in Minnesota as well as Winnepeg, Man., has announced the California Energy Commission has approved a US$2.1 million grant to conduct an advanced demonstration project involving a New Flyer Xcelsior electric transit bus with a Hydrogenics CelerityPlus fuel cell.

The purpose of the project is to encourage the demonstration of advanced technologies and help develop commercial vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, displace petroleum fuel demand, stimulate economic development and enhance market acceptance that will lead to commercial production.

“New Flyer has over 40 years of extensive experience with electric vehicle technology, starting with electric trolleys. We designed the Xcelsior with public transit agencies in mind, using components and systems that are Buy America compliant and manufactured and supported by leading supply chain partners,” Chris Stoddart, vice-president of engineering services and customer services at New Flyer, said.

“Integrating advanced fuel cell technology from Hydrogenics is a natural extension of our zero-emission product evolution. We are very proud to be a selected as a partner with the California Energy Commission,” he added.

Similar its zero-emission Xcelsior battery-electric buses, New Flyer’s hydrogen fuel cell demonstration bus will use a Siemens ELFA electric drive motor for propulsion. Instead of storing electricity delivered from the power grid in battery packs on the bus, fuel cells containing hydrogen gas and air will produce electricity directly on-board the bus. The process emits water vapor as the only by-product. The company said its fuel cell bus can reduce an estimated 115 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

New Flyer also said that with the fuel cell on board, the bus has the ability to yield operating ranges longer than pure battery-electric buses. In addition, hydrogen fuel tanks on the bus can be refilled in less time than recharging batteries from plug-in electric chargers.

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