Seven Electric And Fuel Cell Bus Projects Granted By FTA For Total $22.5 Million


Proterra Catalyst

Proterra Catalyst

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced a new round of alternative energy grants.

In total, seven transit providers in five states will receive a share of $22.5 million for projects related to electric and/or fuel cell buses.

“FTA awarded the FY 2015 funds after a highly-competitive review process that prioritized transit agencies and bus manufacturers with strong records in building, deploying, and operating clean buses and infrastructure.

The Low-No program helps advance President Obama’s vision for a 21st Century Clean Transportation System and the Department’s Beyond Traffic framework for investing in a strong and sustainable transportation network that will meet the needs of our nation in the years ahead.”

The largest grant inside the program ($5.4 million) went to the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which intends to purchase five pure electric buses from New Flyer – but one will still need to be patient to ride one of those:

“UTA and the University of Utah received a federal grant to purchase five buses, three that will be used on route 2 and two that will serve the University of Utah campus.”

“UTA will purchase New Flyer battery-electric buses using funds from a $5.4 million Federal Transit Administration grant. The grant will also be used for project implementation and monitoring.

The buses could arrive at UTA as early as 2018, where they’ll become part of a growing low-emission fleet. UTA already operates 32 hybrid electric buses and 47 compressed natural gas buses, with plans to add more this year. A testing period will be conducted before the New Flyer buses are put into service.”

The largest project (by purchase volume) seems to be Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which using nearly $2.6 million to help purchase 25 buses (and 5 fast charging stations) from Proterra. Proterra is also the big winner overall, expecting 33 new Catalyst orders.

“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.”

SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon said:

“SEPTA is excited to be able to move forward with the purchase of 25 emission-free electric buses from Proterra. SEPTA already has one of the greenest bus fleets in the nation, with over half of our vehicles operating diesel-electric hybrids. The addition of electric buses furthers our commitment to a sustainable future for our riders and local residents.”

Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra said:

“This is a big win for Proterra and the industry alike because it signals continual market demand for zero-emission vehicles. We are pleased to be supporting SEPTA, Foothill Transit and King County Metro in their electrification efforts and are committed to designing and manufacturing state-of-the-art, zero-emission buses that ultimately save our customers time and money.”

Fiscal Year 2015 Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program Projects:

StateProject SponsorProject DescriptionFunding Amount
CALACMTA under Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) will receive $4,275,000 toward five battery-electric zero-emission buses, as well as eight charging stations. This electric bus infrastructure will serve the Metro Orange Line bus rapid transit corridor in the City of Los Angeles. LACMTA will also partner with the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium to include workforce development in support of zero-emission technology.$4,275,000
CAFoothill Transit under Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)Foothill Transit will receive $1,310,000 toward electric charging facilities that will support the agency’s ongoing electric bus program, which includes an electric-only bus line. This program will help expand Foothill Transit’s electric bus capabilities.$1,310,000
CAAC Transit Under the Metropolitan Transportation CommissionAlameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) will receive $1,551,611 toward five battery-electric buses and related equipment. AC Transit has experience deploying zero-emission buses, including battery-electric buses and fuel cell electric buses. This project will expand AC Transit’s clean vehicle infrastructure in addition to providing valuable data comparing battery-electric to fuel cell technology.$1,551,611
OHStark Area Regional Transit AuthorityThe Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) will receive $4,015,174 toward three zero-emission American Fuel Cell Buses (AFCBs). This project will build on SARTA’s successful, existing fuel cell bus program, which has already established hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure and will soon deploy five AFCBs in Stark County.$4,015,174
PASoutheastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will receive $2,585,075 toward the purchase of 25 zero-emission all-electric buses and related equipment. These vehicles will be deployed on bus routes in South Philadelphia, and an associated workforce development program will further contribute to the project’s economic impact.$2,585,075
UTUtah Transit Authority (UTA)The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will receive $5,427,100 toward five battery-electric zero-emission buses. Partnering with the University of Utah, these buses will serve the route connecting the campus to Salt Lake City. This program builds on UTA’s extensive commitment to low and no-emission vehicles and technology.$5,427,100
WAKing CountyKing County Metro will receive $3,336,040 toward eight battery-electric zero-emission buses, which will allow two routes to be operated using entirely zero-emission vehicles.$3,336,040
Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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7 Comments on "Seven Electric And Fuel Cell Bus Projects Granted By FTA For Total $22.5 Million"

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Can someone please explain what the attraction is of a fuel cell bus when you consider that it costs twice what an electric bus costs and it has already used enough electricity to do its daily route before it even leaves the depot (that used to make the H2)?


By the time an EV bus is charged it has used more than twice the energy, most power plants are about 40% efficient. By the time you produce, transmit, convert and store the energy, you have lost a LOT.

I’d say it’s almost lights out for hydrogen busses (and it will be for hydrogen cars).

All this money and only three hydrogen buses… and 56 EV buses!!!

Hydrogen can never be more energy efficient than using that very same electricity (consumed to make the hydrogen) and put in to a EV directly.

It seems the US Department of Energy has finally gotten the memo. The state of California, of course, is still awestruck by hydrogen, even though we have one of the most influential electric vehicle manufacturers in the world right here in California.

Our state of California has spent (and will spend) over $100 million supporting hydrogen infrastructure. Guess how much they spent to support Tesla?

Why does Walmart have 11,000 Hydrogen forklifts???

Not sure what planet you folks are getting your information on but get this:
1. the only byproduct of a Hydrogen powered vehicle is drinkable water
2. A hydrogen powered vehicle can be recharged in minutes, not hours
3. Hydrogen advances include production from renewable resources
4. Hydrogen powered vehicles go further than electric vehicles thus requiring fewer stops for refueling
5. There is a reason why the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany are all going hydrogen not electric. BUt then we know are educational facilities in the US do not compare with a European education. You folks have proven that.

Hydrogen fuel cell buses can be range extender and help the electric bus to have more hybrid power during acceleration. When batteries are deeply discharged, the lifetime shortens, so fuel cell can aid the performance of the battery as range extender.