Proterra LLC Introduces HFC35 Alternative-Fuel Transit Bus
October 02, 2008
Rising Fuel Costs and Economic Woes Spur Interest In Efficient, Clean Alternative Fuel Vehicle
Proterra LLC is showcasing the prototype of its new HFC35, a 35’ composite body, zero emissions, battery-dominant hybrid-electric transit bus at the 2008 APTA Expo, in San Diego, CA, October 5th-8th. This advanced bus is designed to accommodate a variety of auxiliary power units (APU’s) including diesel, gasoline and CNG; the bus featured at the APTA Expo will employ two Hydrogenics 16 kW hydrogen fuel cell APU’s and a UQM® PowerPhase® 150 electric propulsion system. The APTA Expo will be the first public opportunity to view this revolutionary vehicle.
Proterra developed the HFC35 hydrogen fuel cell hybrid electric bus with funding from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) National Fuel Cell Bus Program. Designed and built in America, this is the first-ever ground-up design of a light-weight, energy-efficient, alternative-fuel hybrid transit bus. "This vehicle truly represents a major leap forward in public transit," said Dale Hill, Proterra’s CEO. "Instead of retrofitting a conventional diesel bus, we have a revolutionary ground-up design. This vehicle's tailpipe produces only pure water as its propulsion system's byproduct. It provides the most cost-effective path for hydrogen-fueled zero-emission buses."
The TerraVolt™ fast-charging energy storage system, including proprietary battery modules, battery management and energy optimization systems, is among the most innovative features of the HFC35. Designed and integrated right into Proterra's composite body floor system, the TerraVolt™ system can be recharged by either using a Proterra rapid charge station for only minutes at route layovers, by plugging in overnight, or during operation from any form of APU. TerraVolt™ also has the ability to solely power a full battery-electric transit bus. This unique energy storage system is good for 10,000 total discharge cycles (estimated to last the life of the bus). Vehicle operators can realize up to $350,000 savings in total fuel expense savings over the 12-year life of the bus as compared to a conventional diesel bus. The all-composite vehicle body is 34' 9" in length and seats 37 passengers.
"Transit officials across America are struggling with the challenge of meeting new emissions standards while facing higher fuel costs on smaller budgets," said Jeff Granato, Proterra's president. "Our line of hybrid and battery-electric buses are the solution – they are both economical and earth-friendly. Finally, a solution that brings significant cost savings in the purchase and operation of an advanced zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell bus."
In addition to the FTA, Proterra is grateful to a number of other vendors and suppliers for their support in the development and construction of this prototype. Among them (in alphabetical order) are:
- Altairnano provides the battery cells used in Proterra's TerraVolt™ storage system
- Center for Transportation and the Environment is the prime contractor and program manager for the project
- FAB Industries built and installed the hydrogen storage and fueling system
- Hydrogenics provides the fuel cells used in Proterra’s ProDrive™ System
- Logena Automotive developed code for the vehicle’s master control system based on Proterra's engineers' logic
- UQM provides the UQM® PowerPhase® 150 electric propulsion system used in Proterra's ProDrive™ System
- VDO provides the driver's station and vehicle control hardware
- Guardian Glass supplied the custom windshield
The prototype on display at Expo will be completed and expected to be put into service in the First Quarter of 2009 on a FTA-sponsored nationwide trial starting in Columbia, South Carolina.
Photos of the vehicle are available upon request.