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Electric Buses

ETS Set To Make the Largest Electric Bus Purchase in Canadian History

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) is leading an environmental and technological movement in Canada with the purchase of up to 50 electric buses. 

Based on a combination of funding from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) and recently announced Alberta Community Transit (ACT) funding, ETS’ purchase of up to 50 electric buses will be the largest, single purchase of electric buses in Canadian history.  

Previous PTIF funding will provide approximately 21 electric buses, while new ACT funding will provide up to 28, for a total of up to 50 electric buses. Electric buses will be housed at two locations: the new Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage in northeast Edmonton, and Centennial Garage in southwest Edmonton. Charging and infrastructure upgrades will be made at both garages to accommodate electric buses. 

Proterra, a world leader in electrified mass transit based in California, will supply the City with two electric buses in summer 2019 for infrastructure and charging verification, with plans to supply roughly 20 electric buses to be put into regular service in summer 2020. ETS anticipates the remainder will be put into service in 2021-22 as additional buses are received from the supplier.  

Proterra’s clean-running and quiet electric buses 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 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

ETS, in partnership with energy storage firm eCAMION and the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, was recently 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 the ETS to move ahead with buying electric buses?

Electric bus technology has improved significantly over the past five years and can now handle most of 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 environmentally-friendly are electric buses?

Electric buses produce very low emissions into the local environment and are much quieter than current diesel buses. 

What new technology/infrastructure needs to be built to power electric buses?

Electric buses have different needs beyond what a diesel bus requires in a transit garage. Charging systems, electric generator backup and battery storage are a few garage updates required to support electric buses.

How do electric buses differ from the City's current 40-foot diesel buses?

Electric buses are much quieter than current diesel buses. They also emit 40% fewer emissions than the latest 40-foot diesel buses. Electric buses can also produce up to 510hp compared to roughly 300hp for the latest diesel buses. The electric motor also has fewer moving parts so it requires less ongoing maintenance than a diesel motor. 

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

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