Nova Scotia

Halifax Transit and Nova Scotia Power teaming up on electric bus study

Halifax municipal council has given the go-ahead to spend $40,000 on a third-party feasibility study to look at using electric buses in the Halifax Transit fleet.

Feasibility study will look at incorporating electric buses into public transit fleet

Some of the benefits of electric buses are that they're cleaner, quieter and generally less costly to operate. (Reed Saxon/The Associated Press)

Halifax municipal council has given the go-ahead to spend $40,000 on a third-party feasibility study to look at using electric buses in the Halifax Transit fleet.

The project is a joint partnership with Nova Scotia Power, which is contributing an additional $10,000 to the study.

Coun. Jennifer Watts supported the motion.

"If this works for us, they're quieter, they're cleaner, they're easier to take care of," she said.

According to a city staff report, transportation accounts for 22 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Depending on the type of vehicle used, an electric bus might need some diesel fuel to provide heating during the winter.

Not as green in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, the majority of power produced by Nova Scotia Power comes from fossil fuel sources.

"If we did implement electric buses, they may not be as green as in other parts of the country where they have a larger renewable energy mix," said the Ecology Action Centre's Julian West. 

"However, that said, we are approaching a point now in Nova Scotia where renewables are high enough that it does make sense to look at electric vehicle usage." 

He said the city may be jumping the gun on the study given it's in the midst of a developing a plan for what a full multi-modal transportation system should look like in Halifax.

"I think it should consider all options, including things like electric buses," said West.

The study will include a cost-benefit analysis of using electric vehicle technologies, as well as determine how the range limitations of the buses could impact scheduling.