Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority unveiled a Proterra Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle on Friday, October 21, 2016. The vehicle is in Flint for a year and is on a pilot/test program. Part of the study will be to see how the bus tests in a cold environment as it has only been run in warmer climates.
The bus will be tested on different routes in the city of Flint. Part of the study includes checking the vehicle’s fuel consumption as well. The vehicle is highly technical and will be monitored by an on-site Proterra mechanic.
The bus is the result of a collaborative partnership under the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, a Federal Transit Administration program aimed at energizing the transit industry by investing in zero emission hydrogen fuel cell buses.
Built on top of Proterra’s standard electric recharge the onboard batteries keep the bus running throughout the service day. Each fuel cell system can independently power the bus on a majority of transit routes, providing additional system reliability. The hydrogen fuel used is produced through steam reforming natural gas. One kilogram of hydrogen has an energy content of 116,000 BTU, equivalent to one gallon of gas.
This hydrogen source can have a well to pump energy efficiency of 75%. Combined with a bus efficiency approaching 50%, this bus uses the energy in natural gas more efficiently than a conventional bus running on natural gas.
It’s top speed is 55 mph, and with the battery and hydrogen has a range of 280 miles. The range using the battery only is 30 miles. The vehicle seats 35 passengers.
Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority continues to be on the forefront of working with and using alternative fuel vehicles.