The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), a public transport agency in and around San Mateo, California, will replace 30 diesel buses with 20 battery-electric buses and 10 hydrogen-fuel cell electric buses.
The purchases award a $13.9 million contract with New Flyer of America for the hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and a $22.8 million contract with Gillig for the battery-electric buses.
The combination of purely battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is to assess how the two technologies perform under different conditions. Here, SamTrans aims to find out which can serve which routes better under what conditions and what it would require to meet their infrastructure needs. The electric buses are expected to begin service in 2023.
The Californian public transport company says it has been using 100 per cent renewable and GHG-free electricity since 2017. Electric vehicles were introduced to the district soon after when SamTrans purchased 10 electric buses from Proterra. This was followed by an order for seven battery electric buses from New Flyer in 2021.
There have been several orders for New Flyer hydrogen buses in California, the most recent coming from GET in October last year. Earlier last year, San Francisco Bay Area’s Alameda Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) ordered an additional 20 Xcelsior CHARGE H2 buses. The order was a follow on from AC Transit’s 2019 purchase of ten hydrogen and five battery-electric buses. In February 2020, Orange County unveiled 10 New Flyer fuel cell buses. The county also announced what was then the largest hydrogen fueling station in the nation for public transportation. The US company also has plenty of orders for electric buses as public transport authorities pick up the pace to decarbonise their services.
Gillig, the second largest bus-maker in North America after New Flyer, is a relative newcomer to zero-emission vehicles, having presented its first electric bus in 2019. This proved timely, Gillig has since scored multiple large orders for electric buses.
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