Ottawa to add 450 zero-emission buses to its transit fleet by 2027, fully electric by 2036


Thanks to a $ 400 million investment from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, the second of two CIB investments in public transit this month, Ottawa to convert its entire fleet to buses electric in 15 years

The City of Ottawa has announced a plan to introduce a fully zero-emission mass transit fleet.

The plan includes the gradual commissioning of 450 battery-powered electric buses by 2027, with its entire fleet – currently 939 buses – converted to electricity by 2036.

The proposed deal between the city, the federal government and the Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) would see CIB invest up to $ 400 million to support OC Transpo, the Ottawa public transit company, in the purchase of buses. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson described it as “one of the largest municipal investments ever made in zero-emission public transit in Canadian history,” when the deal was unveiled in Ottawa. .

While the deal was announced in principle, it is currently awaiting approval by the Ottawa Transit Commission and City Council, which are due to vote on the issue on June 16 and 23 respectively.

“Switching from diesel buses to battery-powered electric buses is one of the most impactful actions we can take…”

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

“Switching from diesel buses to battery-electric buses is one of the most effective steps we can take to reach Ottawa’s goal of reducing GHGs emitted by city operations by 100% by 2040. This historic investment in zero-emission public transit brings us one step closer to that goal of making Ottawa a clean, renewable and resilient city that’s ready for the future, ”Watson said.

Immediate plan for 74 e-buses

The first phase of the proposed deal would see OC Transpo purchase 74 electric buses, along with the required charging infrastructure, as part of the city’s budget next year. These buses would enter service by 2023.

“Cleaner air, quieter streets and a safe planet for our children is the goal. By partnering with the City of Ottawa, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will help bring 450 new zero-emission buses to the streets of Ottawa, in line with our commitment of 5,000 more zero-emission buses to across the country, ”said Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, when the agreement was announced.

“This is part of the government’s plan to create good jobs and jumpstart the economy, tackle climate change and build more inclusive communities.

OC Transpo currently has a fleet of 939 buses, the vast majority of which are diesel-powered and would eventually be discontinued if this plan were approved. According to a report prepared for the city’s Transit Commission, the transition process will cost a total of $ 986 million in its first five years, with each bus running $ 1.3 million.

CIB staff have estimated that servicing electric buses will be around 65 percent of that of current diesel vehicles, while fuel costs will be only around 40 percent.

Long-term savings

Although zero emission buses (ZEBs) have a higher initial cost than their diesel counterparts, the vehicles offer significant savings in the long run. CIB staff have estimated that electric bus maintenance will be about 65 percent of that of current diesel vehicles, while fuel costs will only be around 40 percent. The ZEBs will also bring Ottawa much closer to its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 100% by 2040.

“The financing of the CIB, in the form of direct loans, will cover the higher initial investment costs of ZEBs and recharging infrastructure compared to equivalent diesel buses,” explains Félix Corriveau, senior director, communications and media relations at the CIB.

Once the plan is approved, the city will launch a tender for the immediate purchase. Last year, Ottawa ordered four zero-emission buses from New Flyer of Winnipeg, and that company, along with Quebec electric bus manufacturers Lion Electric and Nova Bus, are seen as potential national suppliers.

“I am delighted that CIB is making a major investment in the City of Ottawa’s ZEB initiative. 450 new zero emission buses is really a big deal. Our partnership will help the City meet its climate goals and provide cleaner transit for future generations, ”said Ehren Cory, President and CEO of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

CIB also invests in Edmonton transit

Ottawa is the second city to benefit from CIB’s zero-emission bus initiative – a $ 1.5 billion allocation to help municipalities transition to electric transit. Earlier in June, CIB announced an agreement in principle with the City of Edmonton to invest $ 14.4 million in the purchase of 20 ZEBs for Edmonton’s transit service.

“This is a great opportunity to modernize municipal infrastructure and build healthier communities. CIB seeks to invest in projects that improve the quality of life of Canadians, and this is a prime example of that.

Other Canadian cities planning to deploy or have deployed fully electric buses in their transit fleets include Vancouver, Toronto, Oakville, Hamilton and Halifax. In addition to the CIB program, the federal government announced in March that it would invest an additional $ 2.75 billion to help transit providers purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

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