The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus, a University of South Carolina mobile test laboratory for hybrid electric, hydrogen fuel cell powered mass transit has been undergoing testing in Columbia, South Carolina since August of 2009. The 37-passenger bus will be leased to British Columbia Transit for use during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
By sending the bus from South Carolina to the Winter Olympics, they can gather data from two climate extremes. Project publicist Jeff Ranta says, “This bus is purpose built from the ground up to be what they call a hybrid bus. It’s battery powered, and then the batteries are recharged with hydrogen fuel cells. It’s the first of it’s kind. It’s a proto-type. It’s the first in the world, at least the first in the United States that I know of.”
The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus combines a unique bank of fast-charge, lithium titanate batteries, to produce clean propulsion, emitting only water vapor. “The emmissions from the bus are zero. There’s no exhaust, no diesel engine, none of that sort of stuff.”
A prototype, the Hydrogen Hybrid Bus was built by Proterra with FTA funding of $49 million dollars. The bus is being demonstrated in Columbia as a result of a partnership of local agencies and businesses including The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMTA), The City of Columbia, Signature Transportation Services, Big Fish Advertising and Public Relations and the University of South Carolina.
The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus begins its journey north by going to Golden, Colorado where it will be serviced for cold weather operation and then head on to Victoria, British Columbia. Following it’s trip to the Olympics, the bus will come back to Columbia and stay in South Carolina for approximately a year. It then goes to Austin, Texas for its next demonstration.