University of Delaware Department of Mechanical Engineering Fuel Cell Research Laboratory

Delaware's First Fuel Cell Powered Bus

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Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Transit Bus

How The Fuel Cell Hybrid System Works

  This is a completely electric vehicle, meaning no combustion takes place and no harmful emissions are generated.  This is a battery-heavy hybrid in that the batteries are used as the primary source of electric power for the drive motor, while the fuel cell stack is used to slowly recharge the batteries.  Therefore, the fuel cell acts a range extender.
  When the bus is turned on, electricity flows from the batteries to the traction motor, powering the final drive which turns the rear wheels. During operation, if the battery state-of-charge drops below 60%, the fuel cell turns on and provides electricity to the system, to help power the bus and/or recharge the batteries. The bus is equipped with regenerative braking so that when the brakes are applied, the kinetic energy of the bus is converted back to electricity by the traction motor and stored in the batteries.

What Makes This Bus Different?

This bus emits zero greenhouse gases, is significantly quieter than a typical diesel transit bus, and gets better gas mileage (15 mpgge for the fuel cell bus, compared to approximately 5.5 mpg for a typical diesel transit bus). Also, by using a smaller fuel cell stack than similar sized fleet fuel cell buses, the overall cost is greatly reduced. This makes the bus more affordable for transit agencies wishing to incorporate new fuel cell technology into their program.

Vehicle Specifications


Left to right:  Dr. Arde Faghri, Dr. Suresh G. Advani, and Dr. Ajay K. Prasad

Left to right:  Darren Brown and Doug Brunner

Doug Brunner refueling the bus.

Photo Gallery

Principal Investigators
Dr. Ajay Prasad
Dr. Suresh Advani
  126 Spencer Laboratory - Newark, DE - 19716 - phone: 302-831-2421