NCTD Showcases Hydrogen and Electric Buses at November Board Meeting

Oceanside, CA – The North County Transit District (NCTD) invites the public, city officials, and other interested parties to attend the November 21, 2019 Special Meeting of the Board of Directors that will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Special Meeting will provide key updates regarding the status of zero-emission bus (ZEB) technologies and NCTD’s specific implementation plans, as well as presentations from NCTD’s ZEB implementation consultant STV, Inc., regarding the state of ZEB technology and NCTD’s implementation plan. Additionally, the Special Meeting will include a presentation from the Chief Executive Officer of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), Michael Hursh, regarding their Hydrogen Bus Program. An electric bus from the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and a hydrogen fuel cell bus from the SunLine Transit Agency will be on display from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the NCTD General Administration Office located at 810 Mission Avenue, Oceanside.

In December 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the Innovative Clean Transit Regulation (ICT) for transit agencies. The ICT requires all public transit agencies to transition to a 100 percent ZEB fleet by 2040. The ICT is consistent with and supports state policies, including the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Program (SB 375) and the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (SB 350) focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Prior to the CARB regulatory mandate, NCTD was already proactively working towards implementing ZEB technology. In April 2017, NCTD executed an agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) that will help install some of the critical infrastructure required for operations.  Additionally, in April 2018, NCTD was awarded a grant of $1.2 million from the Federal Transit Administration to help fund the purchase of battery-powered buses. NCTD has recently submitted a grant application to the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust for $3.2 million that will help fund the purchase of hydrogen-powered buses.

NCTD began the process of developing the CARB-required ZEB rollout plan in February 2019. Staff first completed an initial review of the fleet replacement requirements necessary to conform with the ICT by 2040. Additionally, NCTD retained consultant STV, Inc. to explore NCTD’s vehicle, facility, and operational needs, and provide a full analysis, recommendations, procurement documents, and engineering plans for facilities to meet the ZEB plan requirements.

Based on information gathered through discussions with agencies that have purchased and deployed zero-emission technology and the information regarding ZEB infrastructure requirements from STV, NCTD anticipates purchasing 14 ZEBs (6 battery-powered and 8 hydrogen fueled) prior to 2023. These will be used to offset future ICT-required ZEB purchases until 2025 or 2026, giving NCTD time to adequately study the performance of the ZEBs in NCTD’s operating environment. NCTD estimates that the total cost of facility improvements and purchase of vehicles will range from $194 million to $217 million for battery-powered buses, and from $188 million to $226 million for hydrogen fueled buses.

“Using electric and hydrogen buses in the NCTD fleet will be a big step towards cleaner air and reducing greenhouse emissions,” said NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas City Councilmember Tony Kranz. “NCTD looks forward to offering this new technology to our communities while moving towards a greener future.”