The SunLine Transit company out of Thousand Palms, California yesterday unveiled its 7th generation fuel cell in its production ready American Fuel Cell Bus. In order for the bus to be “Buy America Compliant” 60-percent of its components had to be manufactured within the U. S.
This compliancy qualified SunLine for some Federal funding. However, SunLine took this spirit one step further and manufactured 90-percent of the fuel cell bus within the U. S. borders creating more American jobs while helping the U. S. to lessen its dependence upon foreign oil.
According to the press release, “Nearly 60-percent of all 40-foot transit buses purchased in the United States rely on funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration. To qualify for federal funding, buses must meet the agency’s ‘Buy America’ requirements … This bus is the 7th generation hydrogen-fueled bus to be demonstrated and tested by SunLine Transit Agency, reflecting the leading role the transit property has played in advancing environmentally friendly bus technology. The bus was built at the ElDorado National manufacturing plant in Riverside, about a one hour drive from SunLine Transit Agency.”
According to SunLine, “With the launch, transit agencies across the country will now have the ability to purchase a 40’ fuel cell bus that meets the FTA Buy America Requirements. This marks a significant milestone on hydrogen fuel cell technology development for the transportation industry.”
So, the status of SunLine Transit’s American Fuel Cell Bus has been elevated significantly from a demonstration vehicle to a commercialized production vehicle. This is no small deal. A couple of years ago fuel cell forklifts made the leap from demonstration vehicles to commercial vehicles and now there are thousands of them being sold.
SunLine Transit has now shown that within the transportation industry, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are not destined to forever be demonstration vehicles like many critics have stated over the past 10 years. Commercialization has been and always will be the goal. SunLine Transit has just taken a giant leap for mankind in pushing forward with this goal.