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New Flyer to start development of first 60' fuel cell hybrid bus in North America; introduces 40' battery-electric bus

New Flyer Industries Inc. is developing the first North American designed and built 60-foot battery-electric/fuel cell hybrid bus that will operate in daily service. CALSTART, which will administer the project for the FTA, received the green light from the FTA for work to proceed.

The electric propulsion system being integrated into New Flyer’s Buy America-compliant Xcelsior X60 heavy-duty transit bus platform includes a combination of batteries, a fuel cell, and hydrogen storage. The electric drive bus will allow the fuel cell to operate at a relative steady-state, while the batteries will be able to both capture breaking energy and provide power for acceleration.

New Flyer Xcelsior Electric XE40
The announcement of the fuel cell bus follows New Flyer’s unveiling of a battery-electric propulsion system to the Xcelsior transit bus lineup at the American Public Transit Association Expo tradeshow in Houston, Texas.
New Flyer’s Xcelsior Electric is a 40' battery electric bus powered by a 100-300 kWh battery pack (scaled to customer need) that can be charged at stops via an Eaton pantograph-based system.
The Siemens Electric Drive System converts three-phase alternating current (AC) power to drive the traction motor by using direct current (DC) power from the batteries. When braking, the motor acts as a generator to recover energy, just like in conventional hybrid vehicles.
The air compressor and air conditioning compressors are electrically powered. DC power is converted to AC power and is supplied to each of these major systems separately. This allows each system to operate more reliably and efficiently, with minimum power consumption. The bus also as a converter to supply 24-volt DC power for power steering, interior fans, lights, and other accessories.
New Flyer has built six XE40s for North American customers, and expects five of them to enter service in the coming weeks. The sixth vehicle has commenced its FTA new bus model testing at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center in Altoona, PA.

New Flyer is partnering with Ballard Power Systems Inc., and Siemens on the bus that will be operated by Connecticut Transit (CTTransit) for 22 months of in-revenue-service operations. Ballard will supply a next-generation fuel cell power plant that is smaller, lighter and lower in cost than existing models.

The project aims to improve durability and lower costs. The bus, which is expected to be completed in the middle of next year, will meet the FTA’s Buy-America requirements.

A key step in the commercialization will be to complete a full Altoona durability and performance test as part of the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Bus Testing Program. Upon the success of this program, New Flyer will offer this vehicle to customers throughout the United States and Canada.

CALSTART, a non-profit, member-supported organization of more than 150 firms, fleets and agencies worldwide dedicated to supporting a growing high-tech clean transportation industry, is administering the project for the FTA.

This project is part of our technology roadmap and represents another important step for New Flyer in pursuit of durable, reliable and affordable zero-emission public transportation. Over the next decade, we expect to see a continued transition from conventional propulsion towards zero-emission technologies in the heavy-duty transit market and this builds on our natural evolution from: diesel, to hybrid, to natural gas, to electric—all based on the same proven Xcelsior bus platform.

—Paul Soubry, President and CEO of New Flyer

Funding for the bus came in part from the FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program.



They'll have to go some to catch up with BYD's battery electric buses, who now have economies of scale.


There are over one dozen bus manufacturers developing electrified units. BYD and Proterra may be the current leaders for now but others are not far behind.

The 100% electric extended range units (like BYDs) are best suited for cities but PHEV types with smaller diesel engine or NG engine or FC may be better suited for long range intercity traffic?

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