In Canada, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has decided to purchase 300 additional electric buses. These are to go into operation between 2023 and 2025 and will reinforce the transit authority’s fleet of 60 existing electric buses.
With the new order, the TTC is planning a capital expenditure of 300 million Canadian dollars (about 200 million euros). This includes expenditures for the upgrading of the depots in cooperation with Toronto Hydro and Ontario Power Generation. The TTC’s overarching goal is to have a completely emission-free fleet by 2040. To achieve this, the transit authority also plans to bridge the gap with full hybrids: Six months ago, it decided to procure another 300 hybrid vehicles at a cost of $390 million. While the HEVs will be delivered starting in 2022, the 300 all-electric buses will follow by early 2025.
The Toronto Transit Commission is already using 60 electric buses from three manufacturers and is explicitly comparing them in order to gain insights for further projects in Canada. 20 electric buses each come from BYD, New Flyer and Proterra. The public transport provider says that the differences between all three electric bus models, including the impact of charging on overall performance, will inform future procurements of battery-electric buses.
With the announcement of the procurement of 300 new electric buses, the TTC is now also linking the announcement of the preliminary evaluation results. The nine-criteria analysis found that “New Flyer’s NFI XE40 was the only all-electric bus model that met or exceeded the TTC’s goals in the four key areas of system compatibility, accessibility, vehicle performance and manufacturer performance,” the company says. However, the transit authority says that the TTC’s upcoming tender for the 300 buses is open to all bidders.
The TTC also points out that improvements are needed in all-electric bus platforms and that all have given assurances that they will continue to work on their models. The problems identified in the analysis are said to have generally affected body corrosion and accessibility, but not core elements such as e-motors or batteries of the buses.
Meanwhile, the transit authority is announcing which partners it plans to work with to upgrade the properties. Accordingly, Toronto Hydro is to upgrade the power supply infrastructure of the TTC properties. Ontario Power Generation is also on board to “co-finance, design, build, own and operate” the charging infrastructure on TTC properties.
Fittingly, at the beginning of March, the Canadian government announced plans to spend a total of $2.75 billion (just over €1.8 billion) between 2021 and 2026 to promote all-electric buses – including school buses – and their charging infrastructure. The $2.5 billion will be available to municipalities, transit agencies and school boards starting this year and will support the government’s “commitment to subsidise the purchase of 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years”. The programme is part of a larger, eight-year, $14.9 billion investment plan unveiled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for public transit a few weeks ago.
With the funding, Canada wants to kill several birds with one stone, namely create jobs, boost economic growth, ensure a cleaner environment and connect communities more closely. Several manufacturers of electric buses are active in the country, such as Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache, Lion Electrique in Saint-Jérôme, GreenPower in Vancouver and New Flyer in Winnipeg.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke