A $24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to buy hydrogen-powered buses will get the Fresno Area Express that much closer to its goal of a 100% zero-emission fleet.
The grant, along with another $8 million from FAX, will allow the department to purchase 22 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses as well as the infrastructure to fuel the buses.
“We are committed to providing reliable and equitable transportation for the people of Fresno, and announcements like this one help us improve our service — while also doing our part to care for the environment,” said Mayor Jerry Dyer in a news release on Thursday.
City on Its Way to Zero-Emission Fleet
It will take some time to fulfill the city’s order for the 22 buses. Two hydrogen buses under a different order will arrive in early 2024. From now to 2031, the 22 buses will arrive.
City officials want the fleet to be zero emission by 2040. Of the city’s 126 buses, nine are electric, making 7% of the fleet fueled by renewable energy, said Brandon Johansen, assistant communications director with the city.
The hydrogen buses have 100 more miles of range compared to electric buses.
$1.2 Billion to Fuel Hydrogen Projects Across California
The money comes as part of the Department of Energy’s $1.2 billion fund to expand hydrogen power throughout California.
Money will go toward public transportation, heavy-duty trucks, port operations, and more, according to a news release from Gov. Gavin Newsom. FAX was the only Central Valley transit agency included in the fund, said Fresno Transportation Director Gregory Barfield.
“As the only Central Valley transit agency included, we are excited that this makes Fresno a part of the state’s hydrogen highway, ” Barfield said.