Edmonton plans to buy only electric transit buses beginning in 2020
Edmonton Transit Service's fleet of 931 buses is one of the oldest in Canada, says transit boss
Edmonton plans to stop buying diesel transit buses and only buy electric buses in three years, according to the Edmonton Transit Service.
"It's a goal, for sure," said ETS branch manager Eddie Robar on Tuesday.
The city tested electric buses last winter with positive results, he said.
It's looking at electric buses that can run for at least 500 kilometres on a single charge.
"Those buses are available now," said Robar. "The bus can be out there for an entire day."
The city is now looking for a vendor for the buses.
The competition closes September 12 and the intention is to be negotiating with a vendor by November, he added.
The switch to electric has to be made gradually because right now the city doesn't have the capacity to house and charge e-buses, said Robar.
But retrofitting and expanding the ETS garage at 86th Street and 58th Avenue would cost "tens of millions," he said.
A financial request will be made to city council during budget discussions later this year, added Robar.
The retrofit would give Edmonton Transit space for 120 vehicles, which is two years worth of electric bus purchases.
In the meantime, the new Northeast Transit Garage set to open in 2019 will be able to accommodate 40 electric buses, he added.
The cost of an e-bus compared to a diesel bus is about the same, mainly because the electric buses are cheaper to maintain and electricity is cheaper than diesel or gasoline.
City council's executive committee was told on Tuesday that a purchase order was issued in July 2017 for 110 new diesel buses at a cost of approximately $45.7 million US.
The greenhouse gas emissions from one old diesel bus are equivalent to the emissions from sixty of the new diesel buses, said Robar.
"This is one of the older fleets in Canada," Robar said of the Edmonton Transit fleet.
The current ETS fleet consists of 931 buses, including 46 small community buses, 852 large transit buses and 33 articulated buses.
A report to the executive committee states that replacing the large transit buses at a rate of 40 to 60 buses per year would take approximately 18 years to replace the entire fleet of 852.