The province of Quebec will soon have 1,229 electric buses providing passenger service to its residents. The provincial government is providing $1.1 billion to fund the acquisition of the electric buses while the federal government will contribute $780 million as well. Both levels of government made a 25% Canadian content requirement part of the deal, as well as requiring that final assembly of the vehicles take place in Canada.
Provincial transport minister Geneviève Guilbault and federal inter-governmental affairs minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement in person Monday morning at the Nova Bus plant in St-Eustache. Nova Bus won the contract after a call for tenders was made in April 2022 and will be responsible for manufacturing the buses, according to the Montreal Gazette. “This is the largest electric bus acquisition project in North America, it’s an incredible vote of confidence in the Quebec economy,” LeBlanc said.
Nova Bus is part of the Volvo Group which is owned by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Geely also owns Volvo Cars and several other automotive companies. It is a leading North American manufacturer of transit buses. The base order is for 339 LFSe+ with 890 units to be included later. The LFSe+ is the 40-foot-long range battery-electric bus model from Nova Bus. The buses will be delivered over a 3-year period starting in 2025.
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will act as the coordinating agent for the contract in collaboration with the Association du transport urbain du Québec (ATUQ). This milestone reflects the Québec government’s commitment to electrify public transit with the goal of having 55% of buses on the road being electric by 2030 and every new bus purchase being 100% electric as of 2025. Several electrification plans have already been set in motion and Nova Bus is delighted to be the partner of choice in this transition, the company said in a press release.
Electric Buses From Nova Bus
With its long driving range, reduced maintenance costs, and elimination of all exhaust pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, the LFSe+ is the first choice of many transportation agencies looking to make the transition to sustainable transport. The LFSe+ represents a smart mobility solution that combines the Nova Bus LFS platform — a durable, proven structure that facilitates access for people with impaired mobility — with the latest innovations in electromobility and security. The LFS+ is capable of both overhead and plug-in charging. (Wireless charging is the new, new thing for electric buses.) The LFSe+ uses a modular battery pack that can be configured to provide up to 564 kWh of electrical power.
The LFSe+ frames for this order will be built at Saint-François-du-Lac and the buses will be assembled at the Saint-Eustache facility, in Québec, which employs 800 workers. “Nova Bus is very proud to be a long-term partner of ATUQ and its members: we have delivered more than 6,000 buses in Québec since 1997,” stated Ralph Acs, president of Nova Bus. “We are honored to continue this collaboration by supporting Quebec public transit authorities in their transition to electromobility and to be part of this new chapter we are writing together to collectively contribute to the fight against climate change.”
Montreal will receive 607 of the 1,229 electric buses. “This first major order will help transform the face of mobility in Montreal and will bring about major changes in the operation of our buses. It’s a great challenge, worthy of the talent and expertise of our teams,” said Éric Alan Caldwell, chair of the STM board.
The rest of the electric buses will be placed in service in Laval, Longueuil, Outaouais, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Lévis, Saguenay, Quebec City, and in Exo. Once on the road, these vehicles will represent 25% of the total bus fleet in Quebec, according to Marc Denault, president of the ATUQ and the Société de transport de Sherbrooke.
According to Geneviève Guilbault, “over the full lifespan of the buses,” which corresponds to approximately 16 years, these 1,229 electric buses will allow a reduction of “930,000 tons of GHGs” by replacing buses powered by diesel engines.
Electric Buses For Washington, DC
Nova Bus recently received a much smaller order from the Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, DC, for its LFSe+ electric buses — five buses, to be specific. The buses will be assembled at the Nova Bus factory in Plattsburgh, New York.
This order is part of METRO’s Battery Electric Bus Test and Evaluation program. METRO has laid out an ambitious goal of transitioning its fleet of over 1,500 buses to 100% zero emission by 2045 with an interim goal of all new buses entering service being zero emission by 2030. In order to meet these goals, METRO has launched a pilot program in which the five Nova Bus LFSe+ battery-electric buses which will provide the data and knowledge needed for scaling its planned transition to electric buses.
“Every such order for the Nova Bus LFSE+ is a major strategic win, demonstrating the performance and quality of this innovative vehicle in yet another major metro region,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “It is especially welcome that these buses, crafted by our great workforce in Plattsburgh, New York, will be seen on the streets of our nation’s capital. It’s another step into a bright future for our region’s transportation equipment makers. Congratulations to everyone at Nova Bus and to Metro for a great decision. Onward and upward!”
With its electric drive motor featuring BAE Systems’ power electronics and a focus on efficiency, Nova Bus LFSe+ is the perfect long range electric bus for achieving zero emission transportation. Not only does it reduce maintenance costs and improve air quality by eliminating all emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases, but it also showcases Nova Bus’s proven expertise coupled with the latest innovations in clean and sustainable technologies — making it an ideal solution for transitioning to sustainable public transport.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Metro will be integrating the Nova Bus LFSe+ into its electric bus pilot program,” said Ralph Acs, President of Nova Bus. “We are also happy that these buses will be operating in federal Opportunity Zones, as low-income communities are the ones that will benefit the most from this transition to clean, quiet, and reliable electric buses. We are excited for Metro to experience the LFSe+ and to work with the team to support the agency’s successful transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.”
Electric transit buses are coming to cities all across America, Europe, China, and many other countries. The word is starting to get out that they have significantly lower operating costs, while being as durable as their diesel-powered cousins. They also are ideal for cities that want to lower their carbon footprint and protect their residents from harmful diesel fumes. We need more of them.
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