New Flyer Unveiled North America First 60-Foot Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus

APR 26 2016 BY MARK KANE 17

hydrogen fuel station

hydrogen fuel station

New Flyer demonstrated  its new Xcelsior XHE60 articulated hydrogen fuel cell transit bus.  The unit measures some 60-feet (18.3 m) long, and able to transport over 120 passengers at a time.

With 250 miles of range on tap, the  Xcelsior XHE60 would be able to take full duty responsibilities, and is able to compete well with pure electric buses on that metric.  (just not so much with the cost)

The first bus will be operated in revenue service for 22 months by the Alameda County Transit (AC Transit) of California, after the completion of a comprehensive evaluation at the FTA’s Altoona test facility.

The fuel cells are supplied by Ballard Power Systems, while the electric drive train comes via Siemens.

“The propulsion system includes a combination of batteries, a fuel cell, and hydrogen storage that allows the fuel cell to operate at a relative steady-state, while the batteries capture both braking energy and provide power for bus acceleration. Ballard Power Systems is supplying its next-generation fuel cell power plant that is smaller, lighter and less expensive than existing models. The bus is targeted to have a range greater than 250 miles without refueling or recharging.

New Flyer is the sub-recipient of a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Grant administered by CALSTART, a non-profit organization that is focuses on clean air technology commercialization with business, fleets, and government. The FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program is a cooperative initiative between government and industry to advance the commercialization of fuel cell technology in U.S. transit buses. The goals of the program include facilitating the development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technologies, improving transit bus efficiency and reducing petroleum consumption, and reducing transit bus emissions.”

Paul Smith, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing said:

“The New Flyer XHE60 fuel cell bus is truly a first of kind in the zero-emissions class of vehicles. With potential loading of over 120 passengers, this zero emissions 60-foot articulated fuel cell bus offers tremendous greenhouse gas (GHG) and emissions reductions, with the operational capabilities of no other transit vehicle in the world. We are proud of what our engineers and partner suppliers have accomplished, and thank the FTA for their active sponsorship of this next generation program”.

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17 Comments on "New Flyer Unveiled North America First 60-Foot Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus"

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It’s hard to see a use for these. You have to postulate a situation where it’s worth three times the cost of fuel to go from around an hour for a fill-up down to five minutes.

I didn’t heard about battery buses of this size and range. E.g. smaller BYD bus range is just 155 miles.

Cost of fuel may be not the biggest part of TCO. If you can’t keep driving you need to buy 2 expensive buses, one for driving and another for charging. Not a way to save money. Price of this one is not announced or not stated here, so it looks the author is making claims out of thin air about “competing”.

If you don’t count infrastructure and dispense of that fuel, you just don’t count well.
Beside fuel cell lifespan has to be as good as actual BYD battery guaranteed for 10 year of commercial use and you just need to produce hydrogen with renewable energy and reclaim waste or manure to be truly green.
But if it proves right just do it.

Hydrogen buses cost a lot. If you put that money into an electric bus you should be able to get a 250 mile range. The BYD C9 is said to have a 190 mile range, and that is still using a lithium iron phosphate battery.

You can get more range but obviously at the expense of weight and cost. As weight goes up, advantage of adding even more batteries goes down, so there is limit how much you can add for it to make sense. And it doesn’t solve charging speed problem. Sure there are applications when bus is never used whole day and never goes very far. E.g. school buses. Batteries are perfect for such applications if you can make them cost competitive. But not for everything in the world.

Proterra Catalyst XR has a range of 258 miles and is a 40′ bus. That is more than enough for a full day’s route. Recharges in 90 minutes.

And they are now in service.

Did you know that Proterra also makes a hydrogen fuel cell bus?

why wasting all that money on that
fuel cell tech. non sense

Finally the Fuel Cell Vehicles are hitting the mainstream after seeing Electrics going very big.

Welcome. Please establish Hydrogen fueling network.

But for the buses, we cannot expect Diesel to give us easily since this is one bread & butter area for Oil companies.

Here is an interesting news from Ford.
Their new 4 cylinder Diesel engine is expected to power big Vans like Transit which can seat 12 – 18 passengers.

Benz is already using 4 cylinder Diesel in their Sprinter Vans.

“Eco diesel”? That sounds familiar… did they license the technology from VW?

“Welcome. Please establish Hydrogen fueling network.”

Why? Electric buses are doing just fine and a a lower initial cost and per mile cost.

Proterra Catalyst XR is in service now.

“Electric bus manufacturer Proterra Inc. announced it won the majority of the vehicles awarded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Grant.

The Low-No grant winners will use their funds to purchase 33 Catalyst buses, bringing Proterra’s total number of orders to 155 vehicles from 16 transit agencies across the United States.

Recently, the Catalyst simulated one year of operation and averaged 325 miles of driving each day with a constant 97 passenger equivalent load during King County’s accelerated durability and reliability test. Over the testing period, the Proterra Catalyst averaged 15 MPGe, which is 213 percent more efficient than current King County Metro 40′ diesel buses and is expected to improve to 18 MPGe with normal passenger loads.”

No need for HFC buses. They cost more initially and the fuel costs more. Oh and there’s no infrastructure.

Stupid, stupid, stupid idea.

I guess that no one learned anything from the failed Ballard Fuel Cell buses in British Columbia. Hydrogen is DOA for transportation

Yes, don’t truck in hydrogen across the entire continent from Quebec.

The article failed to mention that these awful fuel cell buses were made by New Flyer. They make diesel-hybrids but I don’t think they are at all committed to all-electric versions the way Proterra and BYD seem to be.

In the case of larger vehicles like this bus a flow cell instead of a fuel cell could be the better option. A flow cell is a battery that can be recharged with electricity but is also a liquid fuelled system that can be refilled in a very short time.

This is not the first fuel cell bus to be made and FIY, there are a couple in operation elsewhere in the world. Fuel Cells are not stupid, the industry is still growing but once it’s well established, costs will go down.

Electric vehicles had their own issues when they started out as well and they still have challenges with charging time (which fuel cells beat).

Also, we can’t rely solely on one type of technology, then we would run out of resources (in this case, electricity). Imagine if all cars ran on diesel; then we would have a shortage of diesel.

Lastly, anyone who claims that electric vehicles are “greener” than FCVs is talking BS – 70% of the world’s electricity comes from fossils, 25% from Hydro & Nuclear and the remaining 5% is renewables.