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NFI debuts latest hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus

NFI Group Inc., via its subsidiaries New Flyer of America Inc. and New Flyer Industries Canada UL...

IMAGE: NFI and New Flyer's new Xcelsior CHARGE FC

NFI and New Flyer’s latest hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus, the Xcelsior CHARGE FC. (Courtesy NFI Group Inc.)

NFI Group Inc., via its subsidiaries New Flyer of America Inc. and New Flyer Industries Canada ULC, have released the next generation of its hydrogen fuel cell-electric buses named the Xcelsior CHARGE FC.

The zero-emission, heavy-duty transit bus will save 85 to 175 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) per year from tailpipe emissions compared to a traditional diesel bus. It has a range of 595 km.

The company’s previous hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus — the Xcelsior CHARGE H2 — eliminates 85 to 135 tonnes of GHG each year, according to company data.

NFI (NFI-T), headquartered in Winnipeg, has electric vehicles (EVs) operating in over 110 cities in six countries. The company has produced about 105,000 coaches and buses for use around the world, with the Xcelsior platform delivering 16,000 buses to date.

Available in 40- or 60-foot models, the bus can be refuelled in between six and 20 minutes. Its only output is water vapour.

New Flyer is the only North American manufacturer to offer both 40-foot and 60-foot fuel cell-electric models which qualify for federal government incentive funding.

“The Xcelsior CHARGE FC includes the latest technology innovations. The new streamlined design is easier to service and maintain, delivers longer range at highway speeds, improves energy recovery and is smart city-capable, making it the most advanced hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus available on the market,” said Chris Stoddart, NFI’s president of North American bus and coach in a prepared statement.

Xcelsior CHARGE FC

The new bus includes the FCmove-HD+ fuel cell power module from Burnaby-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. It boasts of using 50 per cent fewer parts and offers 97 per cent fuel cell power availability during service.

The battery enclosure system, now waterproof, was developed by New Flyer. According to a release, it now requires 90 per cent fewer parts and allows operators to simply plug batteries in and out.

Thanks to an active liquid cooling system, those batteries now offer 40 per cent more energy and deliver 44 per cent more range at highway speeds, the company says. They are also available for Li-Cycle Holdings Corp.‘s circular economy-based lithium-ion battery recycling program.

As SustainableBiz reported in April, Mississauga-based Li-Cycle’s (LICY-N) patented Spoke and Hub facilities can recycle all types of lithium batteries. It can also utilize the scrap discarded during battery production.

Also present in the new CHARGE is an ELFA 3 traction system from Siemens AG, which can deliver 90 per cent energy recovery via regenerative braking.

Future of hydrogen fuel-cell buses

“More and more cities are making the commitment to 100 per cent zero-emission fleets and Xcelsior CHARGE FC provides an ideal complement to battery-electric buses for agencies wanting to integrate the reliable long-range performance of hydrogen fuel cell-electric buses,” said Jennifer McNeill, New Flyer and MCI’s vice president of public sector sales and marketing in a statement.

Via its U.K. subsidiary, Alexander Dennis Ltd., NFI also offers the Enviro400FCEV — a double deck hydrogen bus powered by Ballard (BLDP-T) fuel cells with a range of about 480 km.

In January, NFI became a founding member of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Council — a coalition of public transit agencies, manufacturers, and suppliers in the U.S. hoping to educate policymakers and stakeholders on the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell-electric buses and the infrastructure that goes along with them.

Other founders include Trillium Energy Solutions, Nel Hydrogen and Ballard, among others.

NFI’s other brands are MCI and Plaxton for motor coaches as well as ARBOC for low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses.

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