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SunLine Transit Introduces its New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Bus

The fuel cell hybrid bus. Click to enlarge.

SunLine Transit Agency unveiled its new fuel cell hybrid bus at the 2005 Fuel Cell Seminar. Part of the same project that produced the bus earlier shown by AC Transit (earlier post), the bus features an ISE Corp hybrid-electric drive system with a 120kW fuel cell power system built by UTC Power, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The Sunline and AC Transit buses are part of a set of four being built for the North American market in partnership with ISE, UTC and Van Hool. Three buses will be operating in the Oakland area (AC Transit), and the fourth in the Palm Springs area (SunLine Transit).

The 40-foot Van Hool Hydrogen A330 bus can reach 65 mph and travel 250-300 miles before refueling. Van Hool, based in Lier, Belgium, manufactures urban transport buses, luxury over-the-road coaches, and heavy-duty truck trailers.

The 120-kW UTC Power system combines oxygen from the air with hydrogen gas stored onboard the bus, at low, near-ambient pressure, removing the need for a compressor and increasing the fuel efficiency and reliability of the whole system. It also makes the bus very quiet.

Sodium Nickel Chloride high-temperature (“Zebra”) batteries can store as much as 53 kWhr of electrical energy and release up to 95 kW of power, enabling efficiency improvements through regenerative braking, while augmenting the 120 kW of power available from the fuel cell. The bus uses dual Siemens traction motors.

Comparing Emissions and Fuel Consumption
Fuel Cons.
mpgde = miles per gallon diesel equivalent
Source: ISE Corporation
Conventional Diesel 30 0.24 2,200 4 mpg
Conventional CNG 15 0.02 2,500 3.3 mpgde
Hybrid Diesel 13–16 0–0.03 1,700 5–6.5 mpg
Hybrid CNG 2 (?) 0.01 (?) 2,000 3.9 mpgde
Hybrid Gasoline 0.5 0 2,100 3.4–6 mpgde
Hybrid Hydrogen ICE 0.5(?) 0 nil 5 mpgde (?)
Hybrid Drive Fuel Cell 0 0 0 7–10 mpgde


Bill Millard


I would appreciate receiving updates, thanks.


Bill Millard

Bill Bryant

Unless the hydrogen is produced without using conventionally-produced electricity, it is inaccurate and misleading to say that the two hydrogen vehicles produce no CO2. The amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted in the production of hydrogen more than offsets the reduction in emissions from the actual vehicle.

A shift to hydrogen fuels will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless someone discovers how to produce it efficiently, a fact that industry officials and the Bush administration do not talk about.

Please don't help spread this misinformation.

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