Reno Takes A Ride Into the Future with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses
Reno Takes A Ride Into the Future with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses.
Bucking against rising fuel costs and carbon emissions, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County is pushing the pedal on a cleaner future with hydrogen fuel-cell buses. After years of experience with electric-battery buses, the RTC is now betting on a technology they believe is even more advanced – and the first two sleek, new fuel-cell buses just rolled into town.
Paul Nelson, RTC Government Affairs Officer, his enthusiasm palpable, says:
These hydrogen buses are pretty cool,
“They’re electric, just like the ones we already have, but they don’t need overnight charging. They’ve got fuel cells that generate electricity on the go, giving them a whopping 300-mile range, compared to just 100 for our battery buses.”
This leap forward isn’t just about convenience. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recognizes the game-changing potential of hydrogen, backing the RTC with a $6.8 million grant for these initial two buses and another $8.8 million on the way, paving the path for eight more by the end of 2024.
Beyond increased range, hydrogen boasts scalability. While every battery bus demands its own charger, a single hydrogen fueling station can fuel a fleet of 10 to 50 buses! RTC is already laying the groundwork, setting up a temporary station and importing hydrogen from Sacramento as they plan for a permanent, centralized hub.
Safety is another perk. “These buses are even safer than gas-powered ones,” Nelson reassures. And training? Drivers and mechanics will hone their skills using cutting-edge virtual reality headsets, funded by the government.
This shift towards hydrogen aligns with the Biden administration’s push for sustainable transportation, a fact Nelson underscores. “Federal funding is crucial for a smaller operation like the RTC,” he explains. “It allows us to invest in clean technology without diverting local funds, freeing them up for other needs.”
These first two pioneering buses arrived in Reno after a weather-beaten journey, but a little storm couldn’t dampen the excitement. They’re now getting prepped, a fresh coat of paint, and eager to hit the streets, ushering in a new era of clean, efficient, and reliable public transportation for Washoe County.
So, buckle up, Reno – the future of public transit is looking bright, clean, and powered by hydrogen.