Hybrids power ahead in USA

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Consortium delivers ‘Buy America’ compliant fuel cell bus

USA Ballard Power Systems together with consortium partners BAE Systems and ElDorado National (California) Inc., successfully deployed a “Buy America”-compliant, zero-emission fuel cell bus to SunLine Transit Agency in Palm Springs, California. The “Buy America” regulation requires the manufacturing of the bus and key components in the United States, in alignment with objectives set out by the Federal Government.

This bus was developed under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which facilitates the development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technologies and related infrastructure for deployment in revenue service. The FTA has played a key role in accelerating fuel cell bus deployments and providing greater public exposure to the safe operation of zero emission vehicles, leading to a broader acceptance of this technology.

CALSTART, one of the USA’s prominent non-profit consortia of clean transport technology companies, administered the FTA project. Cost share funds were also provided by BAE Systems, the California Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), ElDorado National and SunLine Transit Agency.

The bus delivered to SunLine uses a Ballard FC-velocity-HD6 fuel cell module built in Lowell, Massachusetts to provide primary power in combination with BAE Systems’ propulsion and power management systems for the Eldorado 40-foot transit bus. SunLine Transit will operate the bus, providing public transit and community services to California’s Coachella Valley. Over the years, SunLine has pursued an aggressive strategy for implementing clean technologies evidenced by what is now the seventh generation of hydrogen bus deployed by SunLine.

Less than a week after this delivery was announced, SunLine Transit Agency has gained additional FTA funding to secure a further two fuel cell buses through the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program.

The TIGGER Program works directly with public transportation agencies to implement new strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy use within transit operations. It is anticipated these buses will be operational in 2013.