Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) announced today that it will build the world’s first commercially- viable, fuel cell powered, zero emissions transit buses in an exclusive alliance with International Fuel Cells Inc.(IFC), a Unitied Technologies (NYSE: Utx) company, and ISE Research. The first bus will be built by mid 2001.
IFC is the world’s largest and most advanced manufacturer of fuel cells. IFC fuel cells have powered every NASA space shuttle mission and IFC is the leader in stationary fuel cell power plants. Thor is the largest mid-size bus builder and the second largest recreation vehicle manufacturer.
Thor has exclusive rights for use of IFC’s fuel cells in the complete drive system, called ThunderPower, for all North American mid-sized buses. “ThunderPower is the leading edge technology and the market potential is very large,” said Wade F.B. Thompson, Thor Chairman.
“This is an extraordinary break-through in clean transit buses. Thor is already the leader in clean burning alternative-fueled buses and fuel cells are the power of the future. We will build our 30′ E-Z Rider low floor transit buses powered by a fuel cell hybrid drive system to sell at a price competitive with other alternative fuels. The key difference will be improved reliability and efficiency and absolutely no emissions,” Mr. Thompson added.
ISE Research Corporation, San Diego, CA, the leading developer and integrator of hybrid drive systems for bus and truck applications, will provide its hybrid system and perform the fuel cell systems integration.