Champaign-Urbana unveils America’s first 100% renewable hydrogen fleet with New Flyer Xcelsior buses

NFI Group Inc. (NFI), a leading independent global bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in mass mobility solutions, today congratulated the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) on the unveiling of its first-in-America renewable transportation project. MTD’s “Riding on Sunshine” project will see the deployment of zero-emission, fuel cell-electric Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ buses from NFI subsidiary New Flyer of America Inc., refueled with a 100% renewable hydrogen supply powered by solar energy.

MTD is the public transportation provider in the cities of Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy regions of Illinois, delivering nearly 10 million rides annually through a full range of mobility services.

The unveiling occurred today at MTD’s maintenance facility in Urbana, Illinois, where MTD revealed its project capturing the most abundant element in the universe – hydrogen – alongside the most abundant energy resource on Earth – solar power. MTD celebrated the milestone alongside Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President Paul Skoutelas, Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Rodney Davis, Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, and NFI President and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Soubry.

“The evolution to green mobility begins with forward-thinking transit agencies like MTD,” said Paul Soubry. “Since 1993, NFI has delivered nearly 200 buses to MTD, and is pleased to now provide New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE H2 fuel cell-electric buses in support of MTD’s transition to zero-emission. We’re excited to have been selected to support MTD’s game changing deployment of hydrogen technology, that also incorporates solar power for a truly sustainable outcome.”

Driven by a mission of leading the way to greater mobility, MTD was the first in the United States to commercially order sixty-foot zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell buses. MTD’s purchases were supported by the FTA and the Center for Transportation and the Environment.

“MTD has always been forward thinking, and this project puts MTD right out on the cutting edge,” said Karl Gnadt, Managing Director / CEO, MTD. “We invite members of the public and the industries of transportation and energy to learn about our project and celebrate this advancement in climate resiliency.”

The Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ is a battery-electric vehicle using compressed hydrogen as an energy source and range extender, requiring only 6-20 minutes to refuel. Fuel cell-electric technology is fully zero-emission and an innovative way to obtain extended-range operation similar to existing transit vehicles. Built on New Flyer’s proven Xcelsior® platform, the Xcelsior CHARGE H2 can save 85 to 135 tons of greenhouse gas per year from tailpipe emissions compared to a diesel bus.