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Federal Government announces big commitment to electric buses

 

Federal Government announces big commitment to electric buses

John Best

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna announced $2.75 billion in funding over five years, starting in 2021, to enhance public transit systems and switch them to r electrical power, including supporting the purchase of zero-emission public transit and school buses. The finding will also support municipalities with transition planning, increase ambition on the electrification of transit systems. The government has made a commitment to help purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years. 

Canada’s E-Transit infrastructure

Canada already has a growing electric vehicle manufacturing sector. Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache, Lion Electrique in Saint-Jérôme, GreenPower in Vancouver and New Flyer in Winnipeg are examples of innovative companies that have been delivering zero-emission transit solutions.

Canada is a domestic supplier of many of the raw materials used in the emerging battery technology, including aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese and nickel. Mining communities such as Cobalt, Ont., are looking at a new rare-metals renaissance to feed the growing global battery industry. Ground-breaking research in battery technology is continuing across Canada, –at Dalhousie University where Tesla is investing in exclusive research and the Novonix development hub helps industrial clients worldwide, and the University of Calgary’s leading work on solid electrolytes.

Infrastructure Canada will co ordinate between today’s announcement and the Canada Infrastructure Bank commitment to invest $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses and associated infrastructure. 

To date, Infrastructure Canada’s has helped with  the purchase of over 300 new zero-emission buses, and with today’s announcement it is expected this trend will accelerate. In the last few months, Minister McKenna has presided over electric bus announcement in several Canadian cities, including Oakville, Guelph, London and Edmonton.  Todays announcement was made against a backdrop of an E Bus rollout in Ottawa.

“Better public transit, cleaner air, quieter streets, and a planet safe for our kids – that’s the goal of our investment in zero-emission buses across Canada. By making this investment, we’re tackling climate change while creating good jobs and supporting manufacturing right now, here at home,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“Transit agencies and municipalities in Canada are ready for electrification, and the funds announced today will empower them to move forward towards the goal of 5000 ZEBs,” noted Dr. Josipa Petrunic, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), an agency dedicated to the promotion of green solutions for transit.

The  switch to zero emission public transit has already begun.

In Vancouver, BC, TransLink recently added 15 new battery-electric buses to its fleet, allowing for the full electrification of its route 100, a key milestone towards its longer term objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and transitioning its entire fleet to renewable energy by 2050.

In Prince Edward Island, the province has committed to replacing all of its 300 school buses with electric vehicles in the coming years.

In Guelph, the municipal government has an electrification strategy that will see it replace 35 operational diesel buses with electric buses and add an additional 30 new electric buses to its fleet. The city will also build a new bus storage facility with charging stations for the buses.

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