Electric buses in service this summer
Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) will achieve another important milestone in early 2020, with the arrival of electric production buses from the manufacturer.
ETS anticipates the arrival of two electric production buses in early 2020. These production buses (not test buses) are the actual electric buses that will eventually be deployed into regular service. The electric production buses will also be used to test facility infrastructure, charging equipment, hardware, and fleet equipment at Centennial Garage. Once garage staff have received proper safety and procedural training on the new charging equipment, the electric production buses will be driven on the streets of Edmonton to provide training for transit officials and fleet maintenance staff. Additional electric production buses will arrive throughout February through October 2020, until a total of 40 electric buses have been received from the manufacturer. Electric buses will be put into regular service in the summer of 2020. They will operate alongside ETS's 900 diesel buses.
Proterra, a world leader in electrified mass transit based in California, is supplying the City of Edmonton with 40 new electric buses -- one of the single largest purchases of electric buses in Canadian history.
Proterra’s quiet electric buses produce zero tailpipe emissions, are winter compatible, have a range up to 400 kilometres and contribute to the City’s shift toward more sustainable transportation, a lower carbon footprint and high-quality transit service for Edmontonians.
Electric buses will be housed at two locations: the new Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage in northeast Edmonton, and Centennial Garage in southwest Edmonton. Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage, once fully operational with electric bus infrastructure, will eventually become the main hub for electric buses.
Electric buses will be recharged from above using pantograph arms installed at transit facilities. The buses will take roughly one to four hours to recharge (depending on the level of charge when they return to the garage). Training will also be provided to bus operators, ETS inspectors, superintendents, instructors, fleet and facility staff and first responders.
Funding through Emissions Reduction Alberta
In 2019, ETS, in partnership with energy storage firm eCAMION and the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, were selected as one of sixteen winners for funding through Emissions Reduction Alberta's (ERA) 'BEST' Challenge for clean technology projects across Alberta.
This funding (about $9 million total) will contribute to important research and development for energy storage for ETS' electric bus program at Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage. The funding will also set the stage for significant cost savings for expanding the electric bus program to other transit garages.
What prompted ETS to move ahead with buying electric buses?
Electric bus technology has improved significantly over the past five years and can now handle the City of Edmonton’s bus service needs related to hours of operation, geographic distance and temperature extremes. Another factor supporting the purchase decision was the availability of government funding.
How do electric buses differ from the City's current 40-foot diesel buses?
ETS’ electric buses will produce zero tailpipe emissions, be much quieter, and require less ongoing maintenance compared to current diesel buses (since an electric motor has fewer moving parts than a diesel engine). Electric buses can also produce up to 510hp compared to roughly 300hp for the latest diesel buses.
Winter Feasibility Study Test
In 2015, ETS winter tested several electric buses to ensure the technology would be suitable for Edmonton’s cold weather, steep river valleys, and broad geographic transit service area. The results were included in a 2016 feasibility study presented to City Council.
ETS Electric Feasibility Study