Québec province to electrify most school buses by 2030
Canada’s province of Québec wants most pupils heading to class in yellow electric school buses by 2030, Premier François Legault announced. The province’s 2030 Plan for a Green Economy unveiled last autumn contains the target in some detail.
Legault said the government would invest 250 million Canadian dollars (€169.5Mn) over the next three years to electrify 65 per cent of the province’s school bus fleet. That translates to nearly 2,600 buses, according to Quebec’s Transport Ministry. The new electric buses are expected to cost around $300,000 per vehicle, including charging stations.
Transport Minister François Bonnardel said it’s an ambitious goal and an ambitious response to reduce 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the next three years. Currently, one per cent of Quebec’s school bus fleet is electric.
While the government has yet to name a supplier, it is likely to be Lion Electric, at least in part, with the government likely to spend the money locally. The Québec-based company is known for its electric school buses and told local media it was more than prepared for the uptick in bus orders.
“We’re all ready to supply the demand; we’re ready for capacity of productions. We can do 2,500 vehicles per year, and then we’ve developed a whole ecosystem around electrification,” said Lion’s vice-president of marketing and communications, Patrick Gervais, when speaking to Electric Autonomy Canada.
About 80 per cent of the parts used in Lion electric vehicles are made in Canada, and the company is scaling up its vertical integration.
The company announced plans in March to build a battery pack factory in Quebec. The province and the federal government have freed considerable funds for the project at $50 million apiece. Marc Bédard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric, said that “Thanks to the financing provided by the federal and provincial governments, we will now be able to manufacture in Canada what we previously imported.” The company expects to invest around 185 million Canadian dollars (about 124 million euros) into the plant.
Based in Saint-Jérôme in Québec, Lion Electric says claims to have delivered more than 300 electric school buses in North America. The portfolio now includes all-electric trucks in category 5 to 8, i.e. models with a gross vehicle weight of 7.2 tonnes or more.
At the end of 2020, the Canadian company also announced that they would seek a SPAC deal with Northern Genesis Acquisition. Upon completion, Lion will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘LEV’. The small print of the SEC notice on the planned IPO also revealed that Lion Electric has a supply agreement with Amazon under wraps. The online retailer plans to procure up to 2,500 battery-electric Lion6 and Lion8 trucks by 2025.