Columbia, SC

In Summer 2010, the bus was delivered to Columbia, SC for demonstration. The City of Columbia provided a hydrogen fueling station for the bus to use and Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) provided a location for vehicle maintenance.

Demonstration time for the bus was split between CMRTA and the University of South Carolina. Beginning on June 2, 2010, the bus ran CMRTA’s Rose Hill route. In August the bus started running a route around the University of South Carolina campus. Between August 16th and November 30, 2010, the bus accumulated 2,947 miles and used 399.7 kilograms of hydrogen.

Once Phase I ended, the bus went back to the Proterra facility in Greenville, South Carolina for upgrades to the transmission, battery management system, and DC-DC converters. The bus was then delivered to Austin, Texas for Phase II of the demonstration. For more information about the Austin demonstration, please click here.

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Victoria, British Columbia

On March 10, 2012, the fuel cell bus arrived in Austin, TX for Phase II of its demonstration. The bus will join Capital Metro’s fleet and be operated in regular transit service on the University of Texas-Austin campus. Capital Metro will operate the bus on a number of its shuttle routes including Red River and Lake Austin.

Capital Metro is very excited to receive the zero-emissions bus. “Transit, by its nature, is part of the country’s solution to long-term environmental sustainability, and Capital Metro is thrilled to participate in this cutting edge research that could result in cleaner bus technology being more widely available and affordable. We are looking forward to testing the bus alongĀ Austin’s streets over the next year,” stated Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro President/CEO.

The University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM) is overseeing the upgrade and retrofitting of a permanent hydrogen production and fueling station with assistance from a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) grant. This state-of-the-art station is the first of its kind in Texas and includes hydrogen generation, compression, storage, and dispensing.

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Victoria, British Columbia

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Instead of trying to outfit an existing diesel bus with electric batteries and a fuel cell system, this bus represents an initiative by Proterra to build a unique and efficient zero emission bus from the ground up.

The fuel cell system is made up of two, proton exchange membrane or PEM fuel cells that can run separately or in parallel. Allowing the fuel cells to shut down when not needed should enable a longer system life. Hydrogen to power the fuel cells is stored in tanks on the roof of the bus. These systems continuously recharge the batteries as the bus is running and extend the distance the bus can travel without having to return to the charging station. Energy from the fuel cell system is used to continuously recharge the high voltage battery system.

The bus is equipped with an all-electric energy storage system made up of lithium-titanate batteries. Using only the fully charged batteries, the bus has a range of about 25-30 miles. This is possible through an advanced efficient drive train and regenerative braking. Regenerative braking means that the bus is configured to recover up to 90 percent of the energy expended by the batteries when the bus slows down. This energy is then reused to recharge the batteries.

Besides the unique outward appearance, the bus is 35 feet long and made up of a lightweight composite material. This allows for greater efficiency and makes the body about 20-40 percent lighter than similar transit buses while still allowing space for up to 37-seated passengers – similar to a conventional 40 foot bus.

For more information about the location of the bus, click here


The bus arrived in Austin in March 2012 to begin one year of Phase II operations. Initial operations will be on the Intramural Fields (IF) and Forty Acres (FA) routes around central Austin.

Hydrogen Hybrid Bus Project Partners

Project Partners

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is responsible for creating the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, through which the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus Demonstration received its funding.

The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) is a non-profit organization based out of Atlanta, GA that was selected by the FTA as the prime recipient and project manager of this NFCBP project funding.

Proterra designed and built the bus and provides technical support during each phase of demonstration.

Hydrogenics Corporation was responsible for developing the fuel cell modules as well as providing support throughout the duration of the project.

Altairnano provided the lithium-titanate batteries that are an integral part of the buses energy storage system.

Signature Transportation Parts and Service aided in project management, data collection and logging, and operator training.

Austin Partners

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) is the transit agency responsible for providing drivers and routine maintenance for the bus.

First Transit is the contractor hired by Capital Metro for operational services.

Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
will upgrade and maintain the hydrogen fueling station in Austin.

The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) provided funding and support for the hydrogen fueling station.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provided funding for the hydrogen fueling station that will be used for the project.

The University of Texas – Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM) will aid in data collection and analysis, route modeling, and coordination activities for the installation of the fueling station.

Columbia Partners

Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) was responsible for operating the bus during the demonstration period in Columbia while used in public service.

University of South Carolina, Department of Vehicle Management & Parking Servicesoperated the bus on the campus green route during the University demonstration period in Columbia.

University of South Carolina, College of Engineering and Computing facilitated data collection and analysis while the bus was on the USC campus.

City of Columbia provided space for the hydrogen fueling station as well as knowledgeable staff to operate the station.

South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) is a part of the USC-City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative and led the team that developed the hydrogen fueling station.

EngenuitySC is part of the USC-City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative and assisted in developing the hydrogen fueling station.

Big Fish Advertising and PR was designated to organize public relations, create marketing materials, and develop and maintain the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus website.

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