In 2017, the City put out a formal request for companies to bid on supplying electric buses for Edmonton. In 2018, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) will run five electric buses from the winning company through rigorous testing at our Mitchell garage test centre. If the testing verifies the vehicles meet Edmonton’s strict performance needs, ETS will add up to 40 new electric buses, in 2019, to its current fleet of over 900 vehicles. This purchase is part of ETS' commitment to exploring emerging technologies to create a more effective, efficient and environmentally responsible public transit service for Edmontonians.
The addition of electric buses is exciting for a couple of reasons. From an environmental perspective, electric buses will add even fewer emissions to Edmonton’s air than the efficient diesel buses ETS uses now. From a comfort perspective, the electric buses will come equipped with air conditioning, which is highly requested by our customers and operators.
It will take some time to replace all fleet vehicles since ETS can’t simply swap out its current diesel buses for electric buses. They have special charging and maintenance needs that require different transit garage setups and equipment to handle them. Therefore, diesel buses will be replaced with electric buses when the older vehicles are due for life cycle replacement.
The new northeast transit garage, which is scheduled to open in 2019, will have the capacity to operate and maintain the first 40 electric buses along with regular diesel buses. ETS is also designing upgrades to the southeast Ferrier Garage to handle some electric buses in future.
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.