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A Bus Road Map

SunLine Fuel Cell Electric BusFuel cell electric buses are quickly progressing towards commercialization. With more than 80 on the road around the world, FCEBs are approaching transit agency expectations for technical performance as well as availability and fuel cell durability. Targets for performance, cost and durability, however, were not established until 2012 (2012 DOE FCEB targets).

“A Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A zero-emission solution for public transit” looks at the progress of FCEBs in California and across the globe, and offers recommendations to state and federal policy makers about actions they can take to put FCEBs on the path to full commercial readiness.

Centers of Excellence
The bus road map calls for Centers of Excellence in California that incorporate:

  • Buses introduced in 2015-2016
  • Production runs of 40 buses provide capital cost at or below $1 million from the vehicle suppliers
  • FCEBs that meet transit agency requirements and are operated in normal revenue service
  • A 12-year operating period
  • Fuel use that is sufficient to achieve a fuel cost-per-mile comparable to diesel and natural gas buses
  • Regional training and education for transit staff and community stakeholders

Budget and funding
A regional Center of Excellence will cost approximately $50 million, including buses, fueling infrastructure, operations and maintenance. To supplement conventional FTA funding provided for transit bus purchases, the Centers could be funded through the federal transportation bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) and the Greenhouse GasA gas in Earth's atmosphere that traps heat and can contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide and methane are two GHGs. Reduction Fund (carbon auction) in California. 

Where are we now?
Two fuel cell electric bus programs are active in California at AC TransitAlameda-Contra Costa Transit (SF Bay area) and SunLine Transit (Coachella Valley). UC Irvine will also begin operating a fuel cell electric bus. Read more about FCEBs in California and in the U.S on NREL’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Evaluations website.