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Edmonton will buy only electric transit buses by 2020

September 19, 2017 | By Ellen Cools

September 19, 2017 — By 2020, the city of Edmonton plans to buy only electric transit buses.

According to a report presented to the city council’s executive committee on September 5, the city’s goal in switching to electric buses is “to reduce public transit’s environmental footprint and fleet maintenance costs, maximize efficient use of resources and taxpayer dollars, and support the modernization of Edmonton’s transit infrastructure.”  

A Negotiated Request for Proposal (NRFP), which aimed to establish a contract for the supply and delivery of 40-foot battery electric powered transit buses and charging systems, was released on June 30. The deadline for submissions was August 15, and the city is now evaluating proposals.

The city will place an initial order of five buses and seven charging stations, which will be delivered in 2018 to test bus performance and compatibility with infrastructure requirements. Under the agreement, the city will obtain up to 40 electric buses, which will be required to operate on nearly all transit routes.


If the initial phase is successful, another 20-25 buses and 35-40 charging stations may be acquired in 2018.  

Currently, the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) has a total of 931 buses, including 852 40-foot heavy-duty transit buses. The city expects to replace 40-60 of these buses annually.  

In some transit garages, civil, architectural, structural and mechanical and geotechnical retrofits will be required.

According to the CBC, retrofitting and expanding the transit garage at 86th Street and 58th Avenue would cost tens of millions of dollars. The garage would then be able to house 120 buses. Construction is also underway at the new Northeast Transit Garage, set to open in 2019, which will fit 40 electric buses.  

The transition to electric-only buses also requires the electrification of transit facilities. A 10 megawatt primary electric service is needed to support the power requirements of up to 200 electric buses, along with upgraded transmission and distribution, and a new 10 megawatt substation.

EPCOR, Edmonton’s power and water utility, says Alberta Energy System Operator (AESO) permits will likely be required to upgrade the Edmonton’s transmission and distribution capability.

Once the electric buses are in place, the city will begin collecting data on the metrics.

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