UTC Power fuel cells inside of three AC Transit buses in the Oakland, California area have logged over 255,000 miles each and counting. One PureMotion Model 120 UTC Power fuel cell exceeded 6,000 hours of operation and another one exceeded 7,000 hours.
These numbers far exceed the minimum 5,000 hour durability that the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) has called for in regard to commercial ready fuel cells for vehicles. Not only this, but the AC transit fuel cell buses have exceeded their diesel bus counterparts by 65-percent in regard to fuel economy.
Now, why is this important? First, critics for the past couple of years have jumped on the fact that the fuel cell that General Motors had used in its Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell during its Project Driveway program was only rated for 50,000 miles.
Second, surpassing the DOE minimum requirements means that commercial ready fuel cells are being used now in some industries and that the 2015 target rollout date that most of the major car companies have signed onto should not be a problem.
AC Transit director Jamie Levin has stated, “This is the type of result we and our industry are looking for as we make steady progress toward proving the commercial viability of fuel cell buses for public transit. We’re looking forward to applying the success of UTC Power’s newest fuel cell systems in our new fleet of 12 next-generation buses, as they enter passenger service over the next six months”.
So, for those critics who argue that fuel cells in vehicles don’t have the durability of an internal combustion engine, please mark this argument off your list. Other arguments against hydrogen-powered vehicles will also need to be marked off your list shortly.