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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