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AC Transit Orders 8 More Fuel Cell Bus Systems, Options 13 More

AC Transit of Oakland, CA has ordered a minimum of eight new 120 kW PureMotion Model 120 fuel cell systems from UTC Power of South Windsor, CT, with options for an additional 13 units, to power AC Transit’s next-generation hybrid-electric, Van Hool fuel cell buses, scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010.

This marks the largest procurement yet in the US of fuel cell power systems for public transport buses.

The new fuel cells come with a warranty period that can be enhanced to up to 10,000 hours of operation based on the fuel cells achieving certain defined performance milestones. AC Transit’s first-generation fuel cell buses feature an earlier model UTC Power fuel cell system with a warranty of 4,000 hours, in which fuel economy in diesel gallon equivalency has consistently been between 70% and 100% better than a control fleet of AC Transit diesel buses.

Because of the higher fuel efficiency, there will only be 8 rather than 9 hydrogen tanks on the roof. NiMH batteries will be used for energy storage, according to Van Hool, which is doing the complete integration. Sodium nickel chloride batteries were used in earlier versions. (Earlier post.)

The buses use Siemens electric motors mounted in the wheelbase to have more space available for standees. The two-door 40’ low-floor buses will be significantly lighter, have a lower center of gravity and will have a better integration of the components than the first generation, including Van Hool designed roof top cooling.

AC Transit is one of the largest transit agencies in California, serving more than 67 million passengers a year throughout a 360-square mile region.


Mark Brager


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