Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ is a battery-electric vehicle that uses compressed hydrogen as an energy source. Fuel cell-electric technology is a unique and innovative way to obtain extended-range operation similar to existing transit vehicles with a fully zero-emission solution.


First sixty-foot fuel cell-electric bus to complete Altoona

New Flyer is the only manufacturer to offer both a forty-foot and sixty-foot fuel cell-electric model that qualifies for federal funding.

New Flyer has created its fuel cell-electric bus by applying modern fuel cell technology to its proven Xcelsior® platform. Our engineers have drawn upon more than 50 years of experience producing electric trolleys, hybrids and over 20 years experience producing fuel cell buses for North American operators.


Fuel cell buses use a battery-dominant hybrid architecture, where the batteries are large enough to handle all vehicle performance needs while the fuel cell acts like a continuous battery charger to extend the range of the vehicle. Fuel cells do not have a need for replacement or lengthy recharging when its fuel is spent. Additionally, since fuel cells store their fuel in external storage tanks, the maximum operating range of a fuel cell-powered device is limited only by the amount of fuel that can be carried.


How it works

A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A series of chemical reactions splits hydrogen into protons and a current of electrons and then combines them with oxygen, which produces water and heat. The flow of electrons is the electric current. The electric current is used to power the batteries and ultimately power the bus.

Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion, which means that, unlike internal combustion engines, they generate little (if any) noise, vibration, air pollution, or greenhouse gasses and operate at high efficiency over a wide range of loads.


Built on the proven Xcelsior® platform, the Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ utilizes the same robust electric propulsion system as the Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric bus, featuring industry-proven Siemens and ZF components.

  • Available in 40-foot and 60-foot configurations
  • Save 85-175 tons of greenhouse gas per year from tailpipe emissions compared to a diesel bus
  • Travel up to 350 miles on a single refueling with no off-board electric recharging
  • Fast fill time ranging from 6-20 minutes (depending on bus model and operating conditions)
  • Powered by Ballard fuel cells
  • Monitored by a sophisticated battery management system for added protection, longevity and charging efficiency
  • Direct drive – no transmission required, reducing cost, weight, maintenance and propulsion complexity
  • Industry-leading passenger carrying capacity with the strategic weight distribution of our components
  • Regenerative braking while decelerating, which recharges the batteries and reduces energy consumption while also extending range
  • Improved traction and gradeability (with powered center and rear axles, which come standard on the 60-foot Xcelsior CHARGE H2™. An optional high-gradeability motor is available for all bus lengths)

Extended Range

Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ can travel up to 300 miles on a single refueling and requires no off-board electric recharging. And with battery-dominant hybrid control, there is no reduction* in performance or range from beginning to end of life.

Fuel cell-rejected heat is captured through a heat exchanger to supplement the HVAC system, there is little to no reduction in range at cold ambient temperatures.

*When running on a typical transit duty cycle with speeds below 50 mph.


Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ is equipped with either or both TN1 or TN5 fill receptacles or a multi-fill port configuration. Receptacles can also be equipped with IR transmitters or hardwired communication ports to support fast filling at smart fill stations.

With smart refueling it takes approximately 6 – 10 minutes for a 40-foot and 12 – 20 minutes for a 60-foot to refill a fuel cell bus (depending on operating conditions).

Tanks are a lightweight Type 4 HGV2 with 95% usable capacity.

Quiet in Operation

With the absence of a traditional internal combustion engine and its related mechanical and exhaust noises, passengers will love the significantly quieter ride provided by the nearly silent electric traction motor:

  • During the Altoona Interior Noise: 0 to 35 mph Acceleration Testing, the Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ scored the lowest dBA level, making it the quietest bus on the market.
  • The Xcelsior CHARGE H2™ was significantly quieter than specified regulations within the APTA/FTA Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines at all four interior measurement locations within the interior of the vehicle.

Eco Friendly

Hydrogen is clean, abundant and can be reformed into hydrogen from natural gas (methane) or created from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy through electrolysis. And the only output from the tailpipe is water vapor.

Fuel cell-electric buses can save up to 135 tons of greenhouse gas from tailpipe emissions per year compared to a diesel bus. This is equivalent to taking up to 29 cars off the road or planting up to 5600 trees.


Learn more about this technology at New Flyer’s Vehicle Innovation Center.

Quick Measurements


Download our complete list of measurements, engine and capacity specs.

Full Specs Sheet
40’ 60’
Length 41’0” 60’10”
Height 11’ 1” 11’ 1”
Tire Size 305/70R22.5 305/70R22.5
Wheelbase 283.75” 229” front / 293” rear
Seats 40 52
Standees 42 73
Wheelchair Locations 2 2
Curb Weight 32,250 lb 49,900 lb
Approach Angle
Departure Angle
Breakover Angle 12º (front) 9º (back)
Fuel Cell Ballard Ballard
Equivalent Battery Energy 700 kWh 1100 kWh
Hydrogen Storage Volume 37.5 kg 60 kg