Electric Fuel receives $1m US grant for electric bus trials

The $2 million project is also being funded by Electric Fuel itself and General Electric Global Research.

Electric Fuel (Nasdaq: EFCX) announced yesterday that the United States Federal Transit Administration (FTA) granted new funding of $1 million for its phase III of its zinc-air electric transit bus program. The total project, expected to cost $2 million, is also being funded by Electric Fuel itself and General Electric Global Research.

The new Phase III effort will include an evaluation of the performance of zinc-air battery propulsion systems for transit buses; the installation of new advanced ultra capacitors; and the implementation of an advanced control system for auxiliaries, Electric Fuel said.

The zinc-air electric transit bus program was initiated in late 1998 to demonstrate the ability of Electric Fuel's patented zinc-air fuel cell system to power a full-size, all-electric transit bus, providing a full day's range for heavy-duty city and suburban routes, under all weather conditions. During 2001 and 2002, Electric Fuel announced that various performance tests and on road bus demonstrations had been successfully completed.

Electric Fuel Chairman, President and CEO Robert S. Ehrlich commented, "The continued support from the FTA is great encouragement for our zero-emission bus program. 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 the requirement of transit buses to operate for long shifts on a single battery charge. During the course of this new testing program, we expect to be able to further 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."

On Monday, Electric Fuel said it was shutting down its consumer battery business, but noted it remained committed to its zinc-air electric vehicle program.

Electric Fuel shares closed on Nasdaq on Wednesday at $0.89, up 6% from Tuesday’s close.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on 24 October, 2002

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