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BYD, US Hybrid partner on fuel-cell range-extended electric bus for Hawaii

BYD is partnering with US Hybrid Corporation to develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell range-extended battery-electric bus. The bus will utilize BYD’s battery-electric platform, integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology to eliminate operational dependency on charging.

The bus will serve Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the United States with more than 21 million passengers per year.

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The new bus is being developed as part of Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) to meet sustainable energy objectives of decreasing dependency on imported oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative is a central component of the state’s goal to be powered 100% by renewable energy by 2045.

Robert’s Hawaii, the state’s largest employee-owned tour and transportation company, will serve as the bus operator, shuttling passengers between the airport’s terminal and car rental facility.

Hawaii is positioned as a global center for the advancement of hydrogen and other alternative fuels. The Federal Highway Administration has designated multiple alternative fuel corridors with electric vehicle chargers or hydrogen fuel stations.

Additionally, as part of an agreement between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, the U.S. Air Force has been demonstrating hydrogen as an alternative fuel at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

In February, SunLine Transit Agency in California put into service a El Dorado electric bus with a US Hybrid fuel cell range extender. (Earlier post.) US Hybrid said that the advanced fuel cell design lowered the overal cost of the bus by 70%. BAE Systems is the overall system integrator and provider of the powertrain and electronics.

In 2014, US Hybrid was awarded a contract by the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies (HCATT) to design, integrate, and deliver its H2Ride Fuel Cell Plug-In Shuttle Bus for operation by the County of Hawaii Mass Transit Agency’s (MTA) HELE-ON Big Island bus service. The project is funded by the State of Hawaii and Office of Naval Research via the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI).

Integrated at US Hybrid’s Honolulu facility, the 25 passenger shuttle bus utilizes a 30 kW fuel cell fueled by a 20 kg hydrogen storage and delivery system. The fuel cell and 28 kWh lithium-ion battery power the vehicle’s 200 kW powertrain, air conditioning, and auxiliary systems. Onboard batteries are recharged by regenerative braking.

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