Canton, Ohio-based Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) will be adding hydrogen fuel cell-powered vans to its paratransit fleet, SARTA officials announced. The authority, which now operates one of the world's largest fleets of full-size hydrogen fuel-cell buses, used funds from the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to purchase and equip the seven-passenger vehicles.
The vans, built on Ford's U4X platform by Tesco, will have seating for six passengers and accommodate one wheelchair. U.S. Hybrid is supplying the 250 mile-range fuel-cell drive system. The ADA-compliant vans, which feature wheelchair lifts, feature the latest transit technology, and a variation of SARTA's distinctive HFC color scheme.
The vehicles will join SARTA's fleet in October of 2019.
"Along with providing safe, clean, reliable transit service to area residents, putting the vans on the road will give us another opportunity to demonstrate how well HFCs perform in daily use under tough conditions," he continued. "We're confident we'll be able to show, as we have with our large buses, that fuel cells will help drive America's shift away from fossil fuels toward electric vehicles."
Conrad said economics as well as sustainability are driving the authority's fuel-cell program. "Ohio, and Stark County in particular, are leading centers for fuel cell R&D and manufacturing," he noted. "As the technology gains a foothold our region will attract millions of dollars in investment that will spur business development and create as many as 65,000 new, good-paying jobs over the next 15 years."