Intercity Transit set to acquire hydrogen-powered buses, trucks


Intercity Transit’s (IT) board of directors authorized General Manager Emily Bergkamp to purchase five 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell electric buses from New Flyer of America Inc. for $8,950,435 on Wednesday, April 13.

Each bus costs $1,588,228, for a total of $7,941,139. IT is also paying $522,518 for associated diagnostic tools and training and includes a 4% contingency fund on the purchase order.

The buses were procured from a contract facilitated by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES), while the funds to purchase them were sourced from a $5.6 million regional mobility grant and a $3.4 million green transportation grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

According to a document prepared for the meeting, as New Flyer is already laying out its pipeline for 2025, IT will have to secure an order as soon as possible to meet the grant requirements.

Fleet and Facilities Director Jonathan Yee also gave an update about IT’s transition to zero emissions status. Yee told the board that they are still working with the Center for Transportation and the Environment to develop their zero-emissions transition plan and are currently working on a fuel demand analysis to determine their fueling needs. Once IT has established the scope of its fueling needs, Yee said that they plan to launch several requests of proposals to acquire various fueling solutions.

Yee added that they are also accounting for possible hydrogen fuel projects in the region so that they could source hydrogen locally.

“Many of you are aware there's not really a lot of hydrogen available in the Pacific Northwest, so we're hoping for a short time we'll be tracking it from elsewhere,” Yee said.

“But there are several projects that we're keeping an eye on in the Northwest that we plan to make sure we've included considerations for in our fueling equipment design,” he continued.

Board also authorizes purchase of two trucks

The board also authorized the purchase of two Ford work trucks from Bud Clary Ford for the amount of $217,600.

The new trucks, which were also procured through a DES contact, will replace two other facility trucks which are at the end of their useful life.

Senior Procurement Coordinator Katie Cunningham said that recent truck orders with the configuration they want for the vehicles take around 10 to 12 months before they are delivered.


4 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Grailking

    Are there not electric buses that don't require developing an infrastructure for a new fuel?

    Electricity is already everywhere.

    Just curious because it looks like hydrogen is expensive and requires a lot to manufacture and transport. What am I missing?

    Tuesday, April 23 Report this

  • ChuckCross

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is an expensive hydrogen duck. You must have missed the cost/benefit analysis upon which the decision to go "hydrogen" was based. It is wonderful that the taxpayers of

    Thurston County can afford to operate a deluxe transportation system serving a minority of our population. And don't miss the next IT press release touting the increase in ridership since IT ridership became free to all.

    Wednesday, April 24 Report this

  • HappyOlympian

    Staggering. No matter where the funds come from, way too expensive. 108k each for a pair of trucks. Not surprising in the slightest, on an given day IT has about 20 drivers sitting around or playing billiards with nothing to do, and the 3rd floor of the new facility on Martin Way empty. Thanks for making me regret voting to increase the sales tax to pay for it.

    Wednesday, April 24 Report this

  • ejpoleii

    There is no free hydrogen on earth. It has to be extracted from water using more energy to extract than hydrogen fuel provides. In addition, hydrogen is explosive. Ever see the film of the Hindenburg? That's hydrogen. Making things worse it has to be stored at huge pressure and/or extremely low temperature. Being the smallest molecule it escapes through the smallest crack in a seal. This requires very expensive seals and pumps to store and move.

    This is the stupidest idea in the world. I know. I worked in the space program (Apollo 11) and the vehicles used liquid hydrogen. The ground crews had to be very experienced and careful. Can you imagine the crews for IT handling this? Highly pressurized liquid hydrogen storage tanks and transfer pumps in the middle of Olympia? (Oh. Well. Maybe.)

    Friday, April 26 Report this