Edmonton’s first electric buses have officially hit the roads.

The two buses — nicknamed “Stealth” because of how quietly they run — are currently being tested on various routes to see how they perform in comparison to the regular diesel buses in the fleet.

electric bus

The city is testing two so-called "Stealth" buses until October. (CBC)

The Stealth buses run exclusively on electricity. There are no exhaust pipes like those found on regular diesel buses, meaning there are zero greenhouse gas emissions at the street level.

The buses’ battery can last for about 250 kilometres.

No major concerns have arisen about a lack of power or speed since the buses made their debut on June 9. 

“It keeps up with all the other buses,” said Melvin Werkman, a city bus operator. “It’s not the fastest one and it’s not the slowest one, but it does well.”

The two electric buses are being leased and tested by the city. The buses cost more than regular diesel buses upfront, but there would be a significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs. An electric bus might be able to run for a third of the cost of the normal diesel bus.

“That’s a considerable saving for sure,” said Linda Kadatz, the city manager of the Stealth bus project.

“This fleet puts on millions of miles every year and consuming a vast amount of fuel. It takes a lot of mechanical skill and equipment to keep these on the road, so anything we can do is going to be saving to the taxpayer.”

The Stealth buses will run on routes around the city until October. There could also be further testing during the winter to see how the buses stand up to harsher conditions before the city decides to keep the buses on the roads permanently.