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York commits to electric bus demonstration

Posted on March 27, 2017

The Regional Municipality of York has confirmed its involvement in the Pan-Ontario Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial by approving the purchase of six fully battery electric transit vehicles to operate in the Town of Newmarket, Ont. The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) brought York Region Transit together with funding partners, research teams, technology tools, and manufacturing stakeholders. The York Region project is unique as it is the first time an e-bus project is being supported by a power provider, Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution Limited (NTPDL). They have pledged to purchase and maintain the overhead on-route charger in Newmarket to power the transit vehicles.

“This two-year trial will test and evaluate electric buses manufactured by two Canadian bus manufacturers, New Flyer Industries in Manitoba and Nova Bus from Quebec,” says CUTRIC executive director & CEO Josipa Petrunic. “It is a ground-breaking collaboration with partnerships between York Region, transit manufacturers, charging station manufacturers, and local power distributor, Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution Limited.”

“This project is the first of its kind collaboration that has a power distributor, Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution Limited, that plans to purchase and operate an on-route charging station,” says Petrunic. “The design and delivery of this interoperable charging system for on-route charged e-buses is a true partnership.”

The Regional Municipality of York will purchase six electric powered heavy-duty transit buses from two Canadian transit vehicle manufacturers (four buses from New Flyer Industries of Winnipeg and two buses from Nova Bus, of St. Eustache, Que.). As part of this trial, overhead-charging stations will be designed and manufactured by Siemens and ABB Group. Both manufacturers will produce the pole mounted pantograph system that uses an open protocol known as the OppCharge protocol – first jointly developed by Siemens and Volvo Bus Corporation. The protocol standardizes the design of the robotic off-board pantograph that connects the charging station to the bus, communications between the bus and the charger, and performance metrics of the overall system.

The trial aims to encourage long-term job growth in e-bus manufacturing and overhead charging system design and development in Canada in the future.

York Region Transit is joining a consortium of partners in several jurisdictions in Canada that have collectively sought financial support from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and several municipal jurisdictions. The trial will integrate proposed neutral third-party vehicle and system analyses by the National Research Council of Canada, the University of Ontario – Institute of Technology, York University, Brock University, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, and the University of Victoria. St. Clair College will also help to lead the development of a training program for e-bus and charging system maintenance staff.

“Our research estimates immediate Green House Gas (GHG) reductions calculated at approximately 988 tonnes of CO2 per annum as a result of the trial on the transit routes in Newmarket,” affirms Petrunic. “This trial will deliver on-the-ground testing and results that will prove the viability of electric buses in reducing GHGs from transportation sources and offer a direct solution to help Ontario meet its climate change objectives,” states Petrunic.

“CUTRIC is very happy to have helped foster this industry-led collaboration in low-carbon mobility innovations, and zero-emissions transportation solutions put into practice in York Region,” closes Petrunic. “These projects prove Canadian innovators are ready to support Canada’s climate change commitments with emissions-reducing transportation technologies.”

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