Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-3057
2002-11-18

A Preliminary Assessment of the Possible Acceptance of Fuel Cell Bus Technology by Current Fleet Vehicle Operators 2002-01-3057

Fuel cell engines are expected to deliver greater efficiency and lower emissions than conventional transit bus powertrains in the near future. Although experimental vehicles have demonstrated the emission and efficiency benefits of fuel cell power, the next step toward implementation is widespread fleet demonstrations to prove the technology in the field. In order to aid in the start of new demonstrations and speed fuel cell technology towards the fleet vehicle marketplace, an assessment of the needs, risks, and advantages of using fuel cell power must be obtained from a consumer perspective. It has been assumed that the increased fuel efficiency that is inherent to fuel cell systems will lower operating costs as compared with conventional diesel powertrains. A comparison of two fuel cell buses and a diesel bus was completed in order to quantify the operational cost benefits and identify potential cost deterrents to fuel cell bus implementation. A limited survey of Florida mass transit operators was also conducted to gauge the desire for some of the intangible benefits of fuel cell buses. Some of these issues included reduced emissions, decreased noise, lack of oil and minimized vibration. This information can be used to help analyze the status of fuel cell power for transit applications and begin to form economic and technological goals for future design of fuel cell transit buses.

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