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Ballard expects to provide 10 fuel cell modules for new FTA fuel cell bus programs

Ballard Power Systems expects to supply 10 FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell modules to power clean energy buses as part of two projects that were recently awarded funding by the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the Low and No Emission (LoNo) Vehicle Deployment Program. (Earlier post.)

Ballard’s partners are BAE Systems, a system integrator and major supplier of hybrid drive components, and ElDorado National, a key North American bus OEM. Together the companies plan to supply 10 zero-emission fuel cell buses, 5 each to SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California and Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) in Canton, Ohio.

SunLine Transit Agency will receive $9.8 million in funding from the FTA to purchase and deploy 5 hydrogen electric hybrid fuel cell buses. This will double SunLine’s current fleet of fuel cell buses and allow it to offer expanded transit service in the Coachella Valley area of Southern California.

In addition, SARTA will receive $8.8 million in funding from the FTA to purchase and deploy 5 hydrogen fuel cell buses. The new zero-emission buses will be operated under a variety of operating conditions in congested downtown areas, on major urban roads and on rural highways. SARTA provides more than 2.7 million rides per year throughout Stark County, Ohio.

Ballard expects to receive orders for these modules once agreements with the transit agencies are finalized and expects to begin shipments in the second half of 2015. CALSTART will also be involved as a project partner.

The buses will use the previously deployed American Fuel Cell Bus (AFCB) configuration—a fuel-cell-dominant hybrid electric propulsion system in a series configuration—first introduced with SunLine Transit Agency in 2011. (Earlier post.) The AFCB configuration utilizes Ballard’s heavy duty fuel cell module to provide primary power, in combination with BAE Systems’ HybriDrive propulsion and power management systems deployed in an ElDorado National 40-foot (12-meter) Axess model transit bus.

The LoNo Program is designed to support deployment of clean, energy-efficient buses in transit fleets. The program provides funding to transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required infrastructure such as recharging, refueling and maintenance facilities.

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