Technology for powering buses and road vehicles is evolving. New technologies and energy sources are emerging. Many potential research directions exist, spurred on by developments not only in hydrogen fuel cells, but new battery technology, new sources of natural gas, advances in wireless inductive charging, and more.
Fuel cell technology is uniquely positioned to take advantage of developments in all these areas. Fuel cell vehicle research directly contributes to a variety of new electric and hybrid-electric power systems. Through the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, FTA supports cutting edge research that is positioned to return benefits regardless of the direction of vehicle technology developments.
From the compound bus where a fuel cell powers the electric accessories of an otherwise diesel bus, to a battery-dominant fuel-cell hybrid, to a bus powered primarily by fuel cells, FTA has created a portfolio of research covering a range of possibilities.
Even in an era of low-cost natural gas, fuel cells retain enormous potential. The ability to reform hydrogen from natural gas, combined with fuel cells’ increasing efficiency, means that fuel cells continue to be a major contender for clean vehicle power.