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NREL Fuel Cell Bus Analysis Finds Fuel Economy to be 1.4 Times Higher than Diesel

December 2, 2016

NREL has published a new report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is approximately 6 miles per diesel gallon equivalent or DGE, 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (about 4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (about 3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

This demonstrates significant fuel economy improvement toward the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) and Federal Transit Administration's target of 8 miles per DGE. Fuel cell electric bus durability has reached 23,000 hours, surpassing the Fuel Cell Technologies Office's 2016 target of 18,000 hours, and range has reached 340 miles, more than 13% above the 2016 target of 300 miles.

The report, Fuel Cell Buses in U.S. Transit Fleets: Current Status 2016 and published annually by NREL, summarizes the progress of fuel cell electric bus development in the United States and discusses the achievements and challenges of introducing fuel cell propulsion in transit. The report was announced Nov. 30 by DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar at the Zero Emissions Bus Workshop in London.

The 2016 report focuses on the August 2015 to July 2016 time period for three demonstrations: the Zero Emission Bay Area Demonstration Group, the American Fuel Cell Bus Project at SunLine Transit Agency in California, and the American Fuel Cell Bus Project at the University of California at Irvine. The results for these buses account for more than 550,000 miles traveled and 59,500 hours of fuel cell power system operation.

This work is supported by DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.