Residents will soon see a new type of bus rolling down Ottawa’s streets. Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the Transit Commission, and Bryce Conrad, President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa, were on-hand earlier today at OC Transpo’s St-Laurent Garage to showcase OC Transpo’s first battery-electric buses.
The four new 40-foot battery-electric buses will be ready to enter service in early 2022 and will be housed at OC Transpo’s St-Laurent Garage. The garage has undergone significant retrofits to welcome the new electric buses, with four plug-in style charging stations installed by Envari Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa.
OC Transpo is in the early stages of a fleet conversion plan that will seek to add an additional 74 battery-electric buses to its fleet in 2023, with 450 zero-emission buses phased into operation by 2027. With the gradual phase-out of diesel buses as they reach their end of life, OC Transpo could achieve a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2036. OC Transpo will seek to leverage government loans, funding and grants, so that no additional municipal tax funding will be required to convert OC Transpo’s transit fleet to zero-emission buses.
In addition to offering a quieter ride, battery-electric buses are expected to offer savings through reduced operating costs. Converting from diesel-powered vehicles to electric is also a key component of the Climate Change Master Plan, the City’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate change.
Chargers installed at the St-Laurent Garage can charge a bus from empty to full in five hours.
The City’s battery-electric buses will be of similar capacity and design as OC Transpo’s existing 40-foot diesel buses to provide a standardized customer experience, with route planning based on a range of 250 kilometres in typical urban operation without recharging.
Battery-electric buses are currently the most widely used zero-emission technology in the transit industry and are on the roads of several Canadian municipalities, including Montréal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
A diesel-powered bus consumes on average 35,000 litres of fuel per year.
The Climate Change Master Plan includes the goal of reducing emissions from City operations by 100 per cent by 2040.