Electric Fuel Corp. Obtains Funding for Phase II of Zinc-Air Electric Transit Program

January 08, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Electric Fuel Corp. (Iselin, NJ) has announced that the US Federal Transit Administration has approved and agreed to fund 50 percent of the costs, up to a total program cost of $2.72 million, connected with Phase II of the company's Zinc-Air Electric Transit Bus Program. The cooperative agreement provides funding for Electric Fuel, the Regional Transportation Commission of Clark County, Nevada, and GE Corporate Research & Development to continue efforts to evaluate the performance of zinc-air battery propulsion systems for transit buses.

The Phase II effort will focus on conducting evaluations of the system and vehicle performance, including track testing and limited on-road demonstrations; enhancing the all-electric propulsion system developed in Phase I, including incorporating

ultracapacitors and associated interface controls; and testing and evaluating the zinc-air battery system. Electric Fuel will be the principal consortium partner, with overall technical and administrative responsibility for Phase II. The primary responsibilities of GE Corporate Research & Development, a partner in the Phase II effort, relate to the modification of the energy management system. RTC, also a partner in Phase II, continues its role in leading the project's peer review committee, and in arranging the demonstration drives in Clark County, Nevada.

“Mass transit by bus is a particularly appropriate application for our zinc-air technology because of the poor emissions performance of diesel engine buses and because transit buses must operate for long shifts on a single battery charge," said Yehuda Harats, President and CEO of Electric Fuel. “During the course of the Phase II testing, we expect to be able to demonstrate that our zinc-air fuel cell technology can run a bus at the performance level required by the operators of metropolitan transit authorities, while contributing in a serious way to the improvement of urban air quality."