RTC Celebrates Sustainability Benefits Of State’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Buses

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has announced its commitment to sustainability with the addition of two hydrogen fuel cell electric buses to its fleet. This technology is the first of its kind in Nevada, and the buses are the first hydrogen fuel cell electric buses to be operational statewide, according to RTC.

During a recent event, which took place at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Black Fire Innovation, one of the two 40-foot vehicles was unveiled with the help of U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV); U.S. Representative Susie Lee (NV-03); Nevada Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Spearman; RTC Chair and Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones; and RTC CEO MJ Maynard.

The technologically-advanced vehicles were funded with a $3.8-million Low or No Emission Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant also provides funding to train staff to maintain and operate the new technology.

“As Southern Nevada steers toward a greener future, embracing sustainable transportation options is a responsible environmental choice that drives our community forward,” Jones said. “By investing in sustainable technology, we’re creating green-collar jobs that benefit both our environment and our economy.”

“The new fuel cell buses are powered by compressed hydrogen gas, a naturally abundant element. The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity through an electrochemical process. The only resulting by-product is water,” according to a press release. “This technology has numerous advantages compared to other power sources. Hydrogen fuel cells do not release greenhouse gases and create little to no noise while the bus is idle and in motion. Fuel cell vehicles can be fueled in less than 15 minutes and can operate for longer periods of time, which will support the RTC’s operating routes.”

“We are extremely grateful to our federal delegation for securing funding for these hydrogen fuel cell electric buses,” Maynard said. “We have long committed to investment in innovative transit technology to reduce our emissions footprint here in Southern Nevada. This technology, which is new to Southern Nevada, helps address our sustainability goal, including moving toward a zero-emissions fleet.”

Seven 60-foot hydrogen fuel cell buses have been ordered and will be delivered to Southern Nevada in the fall of 2024. The new buses were manufactured by New Flyer and feature fuel cell technology by Ballard. The hydrogen for the first two vehicles is provided by Air Products.

Additional information on the new buses can be found on the RTC website.

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