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Ballard-powered fuel cell electric bus achieves 25,000 hours of revenue operation

Ballard Power Systems announced that a fuel cell electric bus powered by Ballard’s FCveloCity-HD6 fuel cells has achieved a new durability record with more than 25,000 hours of revenue service. This is equivalent to operating a bus on a 14-hour daily schedule, 5-days per week for 6.9 years with no significant maintenance to the fuel cell stack, a core engine component.

The bus—and several others nearing the 25,000-hour operating threshold—are part of a Transport for London fleet of 8 fuel cell buses, all powered by Ballard FCveloCity engines. These buses, originally funded under the Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) fuel cell bus program, have been carrying paying passengers on London’s Tower Gateway route since 2010.

Ballard’s seven generations of FCveloCity fuel cell engines have been deployed in buses in 15 countries on 5 continents during the past 10 years. Over this period Ballard has worked with 13 bus manufacturers to develop a variety of fuel cell bus configurations that have been deployed in a wide range of climatic conditions and operated under a host of demanding duty cycles. Ballard-powered fuel cell buses have now traveled more than 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) cumulatively in revenue service globally, equivalent to circling the globe 275 times.

Ballard is seeing increased market demand for FCveloCity fuel cell engines of various sizes for use in a number of different vehicle types, including buses, trucks and rail. Fuel cell electric buses manufactured and integrated by Ballard’s partners and equipped with Ballard FCveloCity engines typically offer a host of important attributes, including:

  • 400 kilometer (250 mile) range between refuelings;

  • Rapid refueling, typically about 7 minutes;

  • Improved fuel economy compared to diesel buses (1.5x) and CNG buses (more than 2x);

  • Route flexibility, with no need for en-route recharging, such as overhead catenary wiring; and

  • Reduced noise and smoother ride for improved passenger riding experience.



Installed in long range buses, heavy cargo trucks and locomotives, these ugged FCs could run trouble/maintenance free for 2,500,000 Km and more. Near future fine tuning could double longetivity.

Reduction in bio/fossil fuels and pollution/GHG would be significant.

Cost of H2 has to be reduced by 50% (and more) from $10/Kg. It is doable.


A lot of the cost of hydrogen at retail is due to the low volume and high distribution costs, hence ~$10kg is the cheapest.

For buses distribution is way lower as it is from the depot, and the volumes are a lot higher, so we already have costs of around $4.50 kg (gge)

'Five more hydrogen buses are on order, with one arriving each month starting in January. Conrad expects SARTA to have 11 hydrogen buses by the end of 2017. They now each cost about $1.4 million, nearly all of the purchases with the cost of the hydrogen station are being funded by more than $25 million in grants by the federal government, which is seeking to promote zero emission technology. Conrad said the cost is $600,000 less than the cost of each of the first two buses when fewer buses were being made increasing the per-unit costs.

He said the new hydrogen buses will allow SARTA to take out of service at least five buses that are over 500,000 miles and are in need of replacement.

As for the approximately $1.9 million hydrogen pumping station at SARTA’s Gateway headquarters in southeast Canton headquarters, it’s operational, said Conrad. A 9,000-gallon tank holds liquid hydrogen at extremely cold temperatures. A vaporizer converts the liquid hydrogen into gas where it’s stored in underground tanks and then it’s pumped into the hydrogen buses with fuel dispensers. The pumping station can support up to 20 vehicles. A bus can hold 50 kilograms of gas. The hydrogen is shipped from Air Products’ hydrogen plant in Ontario.

A kilogram of hydrogen gas, which now costs about $4.50, is roughly equal to a gallon, said Conrad. A hydrogen gas bus gets about eight to nine miles out of about a kilogram of hydrogen gas while a regular diesel bus gets about four miles to the gallon.'


Discounting the higher initial purchase cost, the net energy cost to operate H2 buses in Canada could soon be slightly less than diesel cost for ICE buses?

Will H2 buses soon compete with EV buses for short and long/extended range units?


All those hours shows reliability, this is a good mode that should be expanded.

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