This latest deal between the two Canadian companies will see Ballard supply 100 fuel cell modules for New Flyer buses, slated for delivery in 2024
NFI Group Inc. (NFI) has signed a new long-term supply agreement to purchase fuel cell modules from Burnaby, B.C.-based Ballard Power Systems.
The Winnipeg-headquartered NFI is an independent manufacturer of buses and motor coaches. They use an array of propulsion systems, including hybrid electric, trolley electric, battery electric and fuel cell electric. It owns major bus brands including Canada’s New Flyer Industries, the UK’s Alexander Dennis and U.S.-based Motor Coach Industries.
As part of the agreement, Ballard will provide at least 100 FCmove-HD+ modules to New Flyer. The modules will power New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE FC hydrogen fuel cell buses.
“We are proud NFI has chosen Ballard as their committed partner for the next phase of growth in the fuel cell bus market,” said David Mucciacciaro, Ballard’s chief commercial officer, in a press note.
“We believe New Flyer is well positioned to deliver deployment scale volumes of fuel cell buses…where operators increasingly prefer hydrogen fuel cell powered buses for their range, short refuelling times, high availability and cost-effective infrastructure requirements.”
Ballard will manufacture the fuel cell modules at their Bend, Ore., facility and delivered to New Flyer this year.
Installation of the modules in the buses will happen at New Flyer’s manufacturing facilities in Anniston, Ala., and St. Cloud, Minn., says a spokesperson for the bus manufacturer in an email to Electric Autonomy.
New Flyer does not manufacture any buses in Canada, adds the spokesperson. Instead, just the shell of the bus is cast in Winnipeg and they are shipped to Crookston, Minn., for finishing.
The fuel cell buses will deploy across Canada and several U.S. states including California, Nevada, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. New Flyer currently has purchase orders from Winnipeg Transit, Edmonton Transit and Strathcona County in Alberta, says the spokesperson.
An ongoing partnership
This recent supply agreement is not the first time these two Canadian companies have partnered.
In 2017, both Ballard and New Flyer joined the “Fuel Cell Electric Bus Commercialization Consortium” (FCEBCC). It is a large-scale project in California aiming to accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell electric buses.
At the time, Ballard supplied 20 FCveloCity-HD 85-kilowatt fuel cell engines to power New Flyer’s 40-foot Xcelsior XHE40 buses. The buses were deployed by Alameda Contra-Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in California.
In 2021 New Flyer placed another order for 20 fuel cell modules from Ballard to supply more buses for AC Transit.
“This agreement is the next step in our multi-decade partnership with Ballard and a key component in advancing our leading fuel cell bus offerings,” said David White, executive vice-president of supply management, NFI in the press statement.
“By working with Ballard across numerous bus products in multiple jurisdictions, we have been able to leverage best practices…With growing demand for fuel cell buses, we are excited to continue this partnership as we drive the transition to zero-emission transportation.”