Power and Performance of Fuel Cell Electric Buses

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), a CaFCP member, recently recorded a second history-making event – 25,000 hours of continuous operation of a fuel cell electric bus. Just two years ago, the FCEB power plant set an international record for 20,000 hours of continuous operation.

To better demonstrate AC Transit’s trailblazing work in the proactive use of zero-emission buses for daily revenue service, a FCEB traveled to Reno, Nevada in support of the APTA 2017 Bus & Paratransit Conference. While the Bay area has a variety of microclimates and terrains, generally the weather is mild and hilly topography is gradual.

AC Transit fuel cell bus trip to APTA Reno 2017

So after 16 years of continuous operation in these conditions, Reno was an opportunity for our maintenance professionals to test the FCEB’s durability in inclement weather and steeper terrain. As a result, a fuel cell bus drove 224 consecutive miles. This was a virtually nonstop trip; in rain and snow flurries. Perhaps the FCEB’s most impressive accomplishment was its ability to climb the 7057 foot Donner Pass. In fact, the FCEB beat all the odds, averaging 10.91 miles per gallon and completing the Reno drive in just over five hours.

This trip helped demonstrate how zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses can be a one-for-one replacement for diesel or CNG coaches.

Today, California has 20 FCEB’s in operation and another 33 are in development. For more information about fuel cell electric buses, visit CaFCP’s transit at https://cafcp.org/buses_trucks#buses_trucks_transit.