The time for funding electric buses is now

VICTORIA — Merran Smith, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made this statement following Vancouver transit provider TransLink’s request for funding from the federal government for the electrification of its bus fleet:

“Electrifying transit is an unmissable opportunity to fight climate change. Transit already reduces personal car use, but electric transit turns a good solution into a great one, enabling millions of Canadians to get around pollution-free.

“In B.C., replacing a diesel bus with an electric version is equal to taking 26 cars off the road each year, based on Clean Energy Canada’s analysis. They also improve air quality and reduce noise pollution, leading to healthier, quieter communities.

“TransLink has a plan to electrify its entire bus fleet by 2040, but action needs to start now. Buses hitting the road today will still be driving a decade from now, and we cannot afford to lock in obsolete technology. Electric buses are smart investments. The dividends? Huge fuel savings, less pollution, healthier riders, new jobs and opportunity for Canada’s electric bus manufacturers.

“Last year, the governments of Canada, B.C. and Vancouver signed the Drive to Zero pledge, signalling a commitment to reduce pollution from commercial vehicles like buses. The prime minister’s mandate letter to the minister for infrastructure and housing also indicated that new federal transit investments should support zero-emission buses.

“TransLink is ready and willing, but they need federal support in the upcoming budget. Let’s not miss the bus on this one.”

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Battery-electric buses hit the roads in Metro Vancouver

TransLink hopes to operate its fleet using renewable energy by 2050


The new battery-electric buses are part of a two-and-a-half year pilot project. A prototype is pictured here. (Alex Lamic/CBC)

TransLink’s first battery-electric buses are taking to the roads in Metro Vancouver as part of a pilot project to reduce emissions.

The first four zero-emission buses picked up commuters in Vancouver, Burnaby and  New Westminster on Wednesday. Six more are expected to be brought in.

“With so many people taking transit in Vancouver today, electric buses will make a real difference,” said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, a think tank at Simon Fraser University, in a release.

According to TransLink, each bus is expected to reduce 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and save $40,000 in fuel costs per year compared to a conventional diesel bus.

“Buses already help tackle climate change by getting people out of cars, and Vancouver is ahead of the game with its electric trolleys,” Smith said.

She added there is still more work to be done to get every bus off diesel.

The buses will run along the No. 100 route connecting Vancouver and New Westminster. They recharge — it takes about five minutes — at new charging stations installed at both ends of the route while passengers load and unload or while the driver has a short break. MORE