Some of my favorite things to report on are electric bus orders and scaling up of the electric bus market. Buses are a great mode of transport for millions upon millions of people, but they are large vehicles and running them in a stop-and-go pattern in dense urban environments creates an enormous amount of pollution. Transitioning to electric buses means all of the benefits of a bus without all of that pollution.
So, some news out of Canada made me want to sing from a mountaintop. The country is putting $2.75 billion into electrifying public transition over the next 5 years. Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne.
“Ensuring that Canadians have access to clean transportation options like zero-emission public transit is an important part of our plan to create cleaner, healthier communities. Today’s announcement will create manufacturing jobs and support the economy, while cutting pollution across the country,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, noted.
This $5 billion initiative is part of a broader $14.9 billion, 8 year investment in public transit up in the amiable north of Canada that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on February 10.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s large electrification of mass transit initiative intends to result in 5,000 new electric buses in the country. Reportedly, there are 15,000 public transit buses in Canada, so 5,000 would be one-third of them. On the surface, that seems like a good percentage, but the entire fleet could easily be electrified with enough willpower. At the end of December 2017, the city of Shenzhen had electrified 100% of its buses, which totaled more than 16,000 at the time — a very comparably sized fleet.
What was a little surprising to me was recognizing that there are already a handful of Canadian companies that have put their mark on this industry — and will surely benefit from the new initiative. GreenPower in Vancouver, Lion Electrique/Lion Electric in Saint-Jérôme, New Flyer in Winnipeg, and Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache each must have some dollar signs in their sights now, and much cleaner air.
“Today’s announcement is important to help make Canada a leader in zero-emission vehicle transportation. The government is committed to ensuring that Canadian businesses have the tools, support and conditions to become world leaders in a growing economic sector. With this investment, the government is helping these Canadian manufacturers address a growing need here at home to successfully pivot to new, greener products,” said Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.
Furthermore, this initiative comes on top of $1.5 billion commitment from the Canada Infrastructure Bank to grow electric bus deployment and the charging infrastructure needed for those electric buses. “Today’s announcement of new government funding complements the CIB’s innovative financing and accelerates the opportunity for municipalities to collaborate with us and to switch to zero-emission buses,” Ehren Cory, CEO Canada Infrastructure Bank, said.
“That common-sense effort has already led to the purchase of 300 zero-emissions buses in Canada. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is investing $5 billion in total in transit in the next 3 years. The only problem that pops into my head with that is — why isn’t all $5 billion, or most of it at least, going to bus electrification? Though, I guess much of it could be for bus stops, bus lanes, etc., and that’s necessary as well if you want people to actually ride the electric buses and ditch or not be enticed by cars.
“Better public transit, cleaner air, quieter streets, and a planet safe for our kids — that’s the goal of our investment in zero-emission buses across Canada. By making this investment, we’re tackling climate change while creating good jobs and supporting manufacturing right now, here at home. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities,” Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said.
Electric bus news has been growing as the technology has improved and as more and more people and transit agencies have come to realize that electric buses offer a lower total cost of ownership — and also clean the air, improving public health; and reduce noise and vibrations, leading to happier bus drivers, riders, and neighbors. Here are some other recent electric bus stories:
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