Ballard-powered fuel cell electric buses make inroads into California

Ballard powered El Dorado fuel cell electric bus. Image: Ballard Power Systems Inc.

El Dorado National fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) powered by Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems’ FCveloCity-HD modules have successfully completed rigorous testing at The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center, making them eligible for state incentives.

Completion of testing under the program, established by the Federal Transit Administration, allows them to qualify for a $300,000 voucher incentive under the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).

The California Air Resources Board and HVIP are focused on accelerating the purchase of cleaner, more efficient trucks and buses in California.

El Dorado National's 40-foot Axess Fuel Cell Electric Bus is now available for sale with the substantial HVIP incentive in California, enabling transit agencies to electrify bus fleets and meet future regulations for zero-emission transit. The buses offer extended range, exceeding 418 kilometres (260 miles), can be quickly refuelled with hydrogen and ensure full route flexibility, Ballard said.

The latest version of El Dorado National's Axess FCEB offers additional hydrogen storage, thereby extending the range beyond 480 kilometres (300 miles).

"With these positive results, fuel cell technology will now be a viable and production-ready technology for transit operators looking for zero-emission travel," according to Mike Ammann, vice president of Sales for El Dorado. "With the ability to refuel within 20 minutes and a proven transit duty cycle range of over 200 miles, the Axess FCEV is the only zero-emission transit bus that can seamlessly integrate into existing transit fleets."

“Successful completion of testing at the Altoona facility represents a key milestone and, together with HVIP eligibility, will unlock the potential for zero-emission fuel cell buses in California. Transit agencies throughout the United States can now acquire Altoona-tested fuel cell buses powered by Ballard," added Rob Campbell, Ballard chief commercial officer.