By Roy L Hales
The first step was taken in November 2018, when BC Transit approved a Low Carbon Fleet Program that will phase out over 1200 existing buses over the next decade. While some of their replacements will use compressed natural gas (CNG), this is only a short term measure. BC Transit is going electric.
Until All Purchases Are Electric
BC Transit is initially being given $79 million for the project. The Federal and provincial governments are each contributing $31 million, while another $16 million comes from BC Municipalities.
The first 10 heavy duty battery electric buses (BEBs) will be deployed in Victoria sometime in 2020/2021. Over the course of the next seven years, BC Transit will gradually increase the proportion of eBuses in its fleet until all new purchases are electric.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Buses
During the initial phase of this transition, BC Transit is initially adding 34 medium duty and 68 heavy duty CNG buses to Victoria and the Central Fraser Valley. This will bring the province’s total number of natural gas fuelled buses to 230.
- 2020/2021 – Deploy the first 10 heavy duty battery electric buses (BEBs) in Victoria
- 2022/2023 – Begin purchasing only electric heavy duty buses
- 2023/2024 – Begin purchasing only electric high capacity buses
- 2024/2025 – Begin purchasing only electric light duty buses
- 2027/2028 – Begin purchasing only electric medium duty buses
Reducing Carbon Emissions
“We need to transition our infrastructure, including our buses, to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Aaron Lamb, Vice President of BC Transit’s Asset Management, in a press release.
“Many of the actions we need to take to reduce carbon emissions – such as encouraging people to choose transit over their personal vehicles and moving to a fully electric fleet – are the exact same measures that will get us out of gridlock and make our neighbourhoods more liveable, now and for future generations,” added Claire Trevena, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Top photo credit: Victoria’s Buses by Abdallahh via Flickr (CC by SA, 2.0 License)