According to clean transportation technologies consulting firm CALSTART’s annual accounting of electric and fuel cell transit buses in the US, America’s zero emission bus (ZEB) fleet has increased by nearly 37% since last year.
The report titled Zeroing in on ZEBs: The Advanced Technology Transit Bus Index identified 2,255 ZEBs in the US, with Ohio being recognised as a national fuel cell transit bus leader. California was the only state with more fuel cell transit than Ohio, with a total of 52 fuel cell buses.
“A nearly 37% jump over such a short time is remarkable considering the life-cycle of transit buses as well as the adjustments agencies make when upgrading to new, more advanced technologies,” said John Boesel, President and CEO of CALSTART.
“At a state and regional level, we can see innovation hotspots developing – clusters of activity where ZEBs and infrastructure are growing with certain fleets and breaking new ground in others,” said Fred Silver, Vice-President of CALSTART.
Many of the technologies used in ZEBs can also be deployed into other medium and heavy-duty vehicles which has led to the ZEB market being considered as a key foundational market in the zero-emission, medium- and heavy-duty space.
The early market growth tracked in the report is partially driven by programmes and incentives such as the FTA’s Low or No-Emission Vehicle Programme and the California Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.
“Funding from the FTA and the State of California is helping to address the initial high upfront cost of ZEBs. As more of these buses are deployed and fleets understand the significant savings from lower maintenance and energy costs, we expect the need for incentives to decline,” Boesel continued.
“The increase in sales of zero emission propulsion systems for buses will help make the core technologies more viable for the much larger trucking industry. The growth of this sector will position US component suppliers and manufacturers to compete globally in the fast grown zero emission commercial vehicle market.”