The 40-foot Axess FCEBs offer extended range, exceeding 260 miles
El Dorado National fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs), powered by Ballard FCveloCity-HD modules, have successfully completed rigorous testing at The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Centre under a programme established by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
El Dorado National FCEBs are now eligible for a US$300,000 voucher incentive under the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
El Dorado National has produced 20 FCEBs in its Riverside, California plant, all powered by Ballard in collaboration with BAE Systems, under the American Fuel Cell Bus (AFCB) programme.
“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 vice-president of sales for El Dorado Mike Ammann. “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.”
The latest version of El Dorado National’s Axess FCEB offers additional hydrogen storage, thereby extending the range beyond 300 miles.
There are currently 21 FCEBs in operation with several transit agencies in California, some with many years of revenue service. These buses operate on long routes with demanding duty cycles under extreme weather conditions. This includes the Coachella Valley, where Sunline Transit currently operates eight fuel cell electric buses.
According to Lauren Skiver, CEO and general manager of Sunline Transit Agency: “We have put the systems in place to accurately review the performance, costs, lifecycle and reliability of our (FCEB) fleet ….. It’s not really a challenge, but we need to treat the fuel cell buses like any other bus in our fleet. They are not garage queens. The buses need to be deployed in all conditions …. and they are meeting availability targets.”
Skiver continued: “Operationally, our hydrogen fleet is just like our other platforms and is well integrated into our maintenance program. The total cost per mile is comparable to CNG buses we have in service.”