SunLine provides public transit services in California’s Coachella Valley spanning 1,120...

SunLine provides public transit services in California’s Coachella Valley spanning 1,120 mile-service area and carrying approximately 4.2 million riders.

Photo: SunLine Transit

To celebrate National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day tomorrow, Oct. 8, five New Flyer Xcelsior hydrogen fuel cell buses will at SunLine Transit Agency and will be put into service within SunLine’s fleet, according to the agency's press release.

SunLine will now have 21 total hydrogen fuel cell vehicles following the fifth delivery from New Flyer. This arrival keeps SunLine on track to convert all vehicles to zero-emissions by 2035.

According to SunLine, its hydrogen fuel cell fleet is courtesy of an ongoing investment in onsite infrastructure. This includes a hydrogen fueling station dedicated to transit in the U.S. – the PEM Hydrogen Electrolyzer.

The Electrolyzer allows the agency to manufacture its own hydrogen production, offering a bundled fleet, and electrolyzer-based fueling solution. This can drive down the total cost of ownership of fuel cell bus and truck fleets . This technology has allowed SunLine to convert its entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles five years ahead of the state mandate.

The Agency has also built partnerships in renewable energy projects. Among SunLine’s partnerships is NICE America Research. This group has established liquid H2 pump technology and a mobile refueling system. The NICE liquid hydrogen system reduces operating costs to a comparable level to that of diesel-powered buses and takes about the same time to refuel. 

The costs of these initiatives are covered by grants like the Zero-Emission Transit Fleet Infrastructure Deployment grant from the California Energy Commission. This grant awarded SunLine $4,986,250 towards expanding its hydrogen fueling capabilities to include a stand-alone liquid hydrogen station.

“SunLine has always strived to push forward the boundaries of the transportation sector,” said Lauren Skiver, CEO and GM of SunLine Transit Agency. “The necessary infrastructure and investments we are making today – coupled with our close proximity to the I-10 corridor – will enable the entire transportation sector to benefit from our investments for years to come.”