Sunday, May 26, 2024

New e-buses on the way for OC Transpo fleet

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OC Transpo’s experiment with electric buses has been a success, but delays in the purchasing process have put the zero-emission bus program about a year behind schedule.

The first delivery of 22 new e-buses from manufacturer New Flyer Industries is now expected at the end of 2024, with another 29 to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2025, OC Transpo says. The City of Ottawa is also negotiating with a second manufacturer, Nova Bus, for 51 more e-buses, with four expected by the end of this year and 47 more in 2025.

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If all goes well, OC Transpo will have 30 e-buses on the road by the end of this year, 106 by the end of 2025 and 352 by the end of 2027. Ultimately, OC Transpo hopes to have an all-electric fleet by 2036. Both 40-foot and 60-foot buses are to be purchased.

Transit general manager Renée Amilcar said several factors contributed to the delay: the city’s auditor general recommended OC Transpo buy only four e-buses this year; there were delays in getting federal funding for the purchase from Infrastructure Canada; and OC Transpo is buying the e-buses jointly with the Toronto Transit Commission and the fine points of that agreement also took extra time to iron out.

The zero-emission bus pilot project began in September 2021 with four New Flyer XE40 electric buses. In two years of testing, the buses travelled more than 500,000 kilometres and in 2023 saved 25,000 litres of fuel per bus, OC Transpo says. The buses have routinely operated on 10-hour shifts, travelling more than 200 kilometres on a charge.

The buses have averaged 6,100 kilometres “mean distance before failure” — an industry standard measurement of reliability — compared to about 7,300 kilometres for conventional diesel buses.

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