The SEPTA Board this month approved a contract for the purchase of 10 fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs), made in the United States by New Flyer of America. The purchase will allow SEPTA to evaluate this technology as the Authority develops plans for a zero-emission bus fleet.
FCEBs are powered by electricity derived from hydrogen fuel cells, resulting in zero tailpipe emissions and improved air quality for riders, neighbors, and communities. Hydrogen buses offer similar range and performance as diesel-hybrid buses with quieter operation, lower maintenance costs, and less than half the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.
“Over the last two decades, SEPTA has led the transit industry in transitioning to hybrid buses, and that has resulted in a fleet that is cleaner and more efficient to operate,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “With this pilot program for fuel cell electric buses, we will similarly be on the cutting edge of zero-emission technology.”
At a cost of $17,051,216.78, the contract includes delivery of 10, 40-foot low floor fuel cell electric buses, fueling infrastructure, training aids, and tools and equipment. The cost is partially subsidized with a $1.5 million Low to No Emission Vehicle Deployment program (LoNo) grant from Federal Transit Administration. The new vehicles are expected to be implemented by summer 2024.
“As part of our strategic plan, SEPTA Forward, we are embracing new technologies that will help us reduce emissions for the communities that we serve,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are excited to move forward with this purchase and the evaluation of FCEBs as we advance our Zero Emission Bus Fleet initiative.”
SEPTA is exploring the new FCEBs for operation across the entire bus network. These 10 vehicles will operate out of the Midvale District, which is SEPTA’s largest bus depot. These will be added to one of the cleanest bus fleets in the nation, as over 90% of SEPTA’s current buses are electric-diesel hybrids.
To learn more about the Zero Emission Bus Fleet program and other projects, visit https://planning.septa.org/.