Recently, officials in Washington D.C. were able to experience the Axess-FC, a hydrogen fuel cell bus, first hand. Manufactured by REV’s own ElDorado National-California (ENC), in conjunction with its partners, Ballard and BAE, the Axess-FC completed its first leg of a mid-Atlantic tour. Thanks to the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), their tour has allowed officials to gain a deeper understanding of the low and no-emission options available to public transit.
By taking a big step towards sustainable transportation, the Axess-FC is a major breakthrough in how we get around – responsibly. With transportation now the largest source of CO2 emissions in the U.S., many communities are looking for greener alternatives. To answer this call, the Axess-FC is powered by hydrogen fuel that enters a fuel cell and combines with oxygen to generate electricity, while leaving heat and clean water as the only residue.
Unlike battery-electric buses, hydrogen fuel cell engines don’t need to be charged for hours. In fact, it only takes about 15 minutes to refill a hydrogen fuel tank, similar to what you would see with a diesel-powered bus. Over the span of a 12-year lifetime, a diesel-powered bus will consume approximately 125,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Swapping out a diesel bus for one powered by a hydrogen fuel cell means about 1,400 fewer tons of CO2 polluting the atmosphere.
SARTA, which runs 34 fixed routes across Northeast Ohio, is leading the push for more sustainable transit options with one of the nation’s largest fleets of hydrogen buses; it has seven currently on the road with five more on the way. SARTA has chosen to take one of them on the road for a tour, showing off the hydrogen fuel cell bus’s ability to emit only water and heat.
“It may sound like a fantasy to some but we’re doing it every day: running transit buses that emit only heat and water. In fact, the water that’s discharged from the bus is so clean you can drink it,” said Kirt Conrad, SARTA CEO. “And since only gas is flowing through the bus, the rides are more quiet and smoother than on a diesel-powered bus; we invite everyone to come take a ride and feel it themselves.”
And when it comes to safety, some of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers have embraced hydrogen fuel cell technology. Those automakers are now working to put even more hydrogen-powered cars on the road.
“We pride ourselves on manufacturing buses that not only represent the new wave of energy efficiency but are as safe as any other bus on the road today,” said Tony Wayne, ENC Vice President/General Manager. “Combine that with the availability of the Federal Transit Administration’s “Low-No” Grant Program, along with other federal and state grants, and you have an opportunity for municipal and regional transit authorities to provide smooth, safe rides in a cost-effective way – all while producing zero emissions.”
Between April 10-15, the SARTA hydrogen fuel cell bus was at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as National Park Service facilities. It also ran demonstration routes for the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH).
To learn more about SARTA, you can head to https://www.sartaonline.com/
And to learn more about the Axess-FC, you can head to https://www.eldorado-ca.com/hydrogen-hybrid-bus