The Xcelsior CHARGE H2 is a battery-electric vehicle using compressed hydrogen as an energy...

The Xcelsior CHARGE H2 is a battery-electric vehicle using compressed hydrogen as an energy source and range extender, requiring only 6-20 minutes to refuel.

Photo: New Flyer

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) unveiled its first in-America renewable transportation project titled “Riding on Sunshine," which will see the deployment of zero-emission, fuel cell-electric Xcelsior CHARGE H2 buses from New Flyer.

The unveiling occurred at MTD’s maintenance facility in Urbana, Ill.

“The evolution to green mobility begins with forward-thinking transit agencies like MTD,” said Paul Soubry, NFI president and CEO. “Since 1993, NFI has delivered nearly 200 buses to MTD, and is pleased to now provide New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE H2 fuel cell-electric buses in support of MTD’s transition to zero-emission. We’re excited to have been selected to support MTD’s game changing deployment of hydrogen technology, that also incorporates solar power for a truly sustainable outcome.”

MTD was the first in the U.S. to commercially order sixty-foot zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell buses. MTD’s purchases were supported by the FTA and the Center for Transportation and the Environment.

“MTD has always been forward thinking, and this project puts MTD right out on the cutting edge,” said Karl Gnadt, managing director and CEO of MTD. “We invite members of the public and the industries of transportation and energy to learn about our project and celebrate this advancement in climate resiliency."

The hydrogen fuel cell electric buses save over 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel per bus each year, and one bus reduces greenhouse gases up to 135 tons annually. MTD’s zero emission fleet will operate alongside diesel electric hybrid buses, currently 97% of the 114 bus fleet, but will be 100% low or no emission in 2022.